What's wrong with the current voting system? Why change?

The current electoral system could be improved. Here are some of the weaknesses of first-past-the-post.
Do any of these make sense to you?

  • Ineffective oppositions - an opposition of just 1 person (PEI after the 2000 election) or 4 people (PEI in 2003 and 2007) isn't strong enough to truly 'hold the government to account'. Sure, opposition parties can 'oppose' and 'complain' about the government in the media, but when it comes to a vote, this doesn't have any impact on government decision-making. Proportional representation will ensure strong oppositions, which leads to more government transparency, and learning to find acceptable compromises through negotiation, when important decisions are made.

  • A flip-flop from one 'ruling party' in government, to its opposite, every 10 years or so. Under Proportional Representation, we would see 'course corrections' rather than wild swings from one party to another, leading to more consistent sharing of power.

Graphs of the last 6 elections on PEI, vs the popular vote

  • A culture of competition, rather than collaboration and negotiation.
  • More than 50% of votes are 'wasted' - they don't contribute to electing someone. This means that the resulting government would have been exactly the same if half the voters simply stayed at home, and didn't show up! Islanders tend to be very politically engaged, but it's understandable that many people feel like their vote hasn't really made a difference after election day is over.
  • Many voters feel a pressure to 'vote strategically' - instead of voting for the party that best represents their values, voters feel like they have to vote for someone else, to prevent their worst nightmare from being elected.
  • Unfair majorities - majority governments can form too easily, even if they only have the support of a minority of the population. With a majority, a party has 100% of the power - they can push through decisions that they want, for the 4 years that they are in government, without needing to consult with anyone else. There is no need for governments to be open and transparent. In Proportional Representation, majority governments can still be formed, but only if they have a true majority of support from the population.
  • "First-past-the-post" could also be called "winner takes all": it's like a horse-race, but there is no second or third place... the winning party gets all the power, for the next four years.

Convinced? Learn how you can vote for Proportional Representation here.

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