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Single Transferable Vote (PR-STV) and Local PR 

Single Transferable Vote was recommended by the British Columbia Citizens Assembly (2004) and went on to receive 58% of the vote in the 2005 referendum. The top three values of the BC Citizens Assembly were proportional representation, local representation, and voter choice. You can check out the work of the BC Citizens Assembly here.

STV is used nationally in Ireland, in four Australian territories, in Scotland for local elections and was used provincially in Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton for 30 years. It is the original proportional representation system.

Read the STV part of our submission to the federal Electoral Reform Committee.

How it Works

Instead of electing one MP in each single member riding (first-past-the-post), voters elect a small team of MPs in a multi-member local district.

For example, five single member riding could become one multi-member district electing five MPs. The five MPs would reflect the diversity of how people voted.

The BC Citizens Assembly recommended districts elect between two and seven members, depending on the geography of the area.

STV is a candidate-centered system which allows voters to rank candidates based on what characteristics are most important to them. STV is the system that gives voters the most nuanced say over who fills the seats. It produces proportional results in Parliament and also offers popular independents a chance to be elected.

Voting is simple. Rank candidates as few or as many candidates as you want in any order you like. You can rank across party lines.

Counting the ballots is more complex than first-past-the-post, because voters preferences are taken into account to ensure that the team of MPs elected to represent the local area reflects the preferences voters marked on their ballots.

There are many excellent videos on STV counting on our youtube channel in the systems playlist. To get the basic idea of how the ballots are counted, we recommend this video:

Local PR

Local PR is STV with an adaptation: Ridings are grouped together into a local district to elect multiple members just like STV.

Local PR changes the candidate nomination and counting process to guarantee that each current single-member riding continues to elect one locally-nominated representative.

Each representative has two roles: as a local representative nominated in that riding.and as part of a multi-member team at the district level. 

Voting is just as simple as with STV.  Rank as few or as many candidates as you want in any order you like. You can rank across party lines.

Candidates are listed on the ballot according to the existing ridings in which they are nominated, but voters can rank any of the candidates running in the multi-member district.

The counting process under Local PR is done in rounds where each round elects one candidate who has achieved the required number of votes to win a seat (a quota). If no candidate has enough votes for a seat, the least popular candidate is suspended (removed temporarily). Those votes are redistributed to second preferences until one MP is declared elected. The other candidates in that local riding are then eliminated, and the process repeats until every seat in the district is filled. You can learn more from the Primer on Local PR and the following website:
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