SNTV – the bottom line

I’ve had requests to author a “bottom line” on SNTV (which I recently modelled the 2017 election on to see how it might compare to the results we got).

Here’s the bottom line on SNTV:

– SNTV is STV without the ranked ballot. There are multiple people elected, but each voter casts one non-transferable vote. Multiple people to be elected and one vote cast per candidate gives you proportionality that can be approximately as proportional as single transferable vote (STV) or mixed member proportional (MMP).

– It’s been used in various jurisdictions around the world, especially in Asia (it was used in Japan for 45 years, for example).

– How it differs from MMP, is that it doesn’t require party lists, and everyone is tied to a specific geographic area

– It differs from STV in that it’s much simpler for the voter, who votes for a single person as they do now. Multiple people to be elected is familiar to British Columbians, as that is how we elect municipal councillors in this province (in the rest of the country, many cities have switched to the “Ward system”, which is a form of first-past-the-post).

– The rural/urban implications of SNTV are the same as STV. The rural implications of SNTV are arguably slightly better for SNTV than MMP, though that depends on how the MMP system is designed.

Do I think SNTV is the best system in the world? No. But I think it might be a system that would give the proportionality our legislature badly needs if all voices are to be heard, without adding complexity to the BC voter. Quite simply, it adds a maximum of proportionality with a minimum of change. No other change as minor as this would produce as much proportionality.

However, there’s been another suggestion that’s been made to me about SNTV’s potential application in an MMP-based system, and I’m going to address that in a future post.

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