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Single Transferable Vote (PR-STV)

More local choice, proportional results

Single Transferable Vote (PR-STV) 

Single Transferable Vote  (PR-STV) is a proportional representation system. Voters elect a team of local MPs using a ranked ballot. PR-STV 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.

PR-STV is used nationally in Ireland, in the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, and in Scotland for local elections. PR-STV was used to elect provincial MLAs 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 just MP in each single member riding (first-past-the-post), voters elect a small team of MPs in a multi-member local district. This better reflects the political diversity that exists in every area.

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

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

PR-STV produces proportional results in Parliament overall. 

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 MPs elected to represent the local area reflect 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 short video.

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