Mixed-Member Proportional Representation (MMP) - also known as the Additional Member System - is the specific Proportional Representation model being considered for PEI. It is commonly used around the world, for example in Scotland, Wales, New Zealand and Germany. For PEI, we are specifically looking at Open List MMP - explained more in writing below.
MMP combines what we like about the current system - local representation - with all the benefits of Proportional Representation - fairness, accountability, and a stronger voice of citizens in our democracy.
If visualizations help you to learn, check out our 8 minute video:
MMP for PEI
You have two votes:
1 vote for candidates in your local district, just like the current system. Parties can nominate 1 candidate per district, and independents can also run for district seats.
1 vote on a ballot of province-wide candidates. Parties registered with the province can nominate up to 9 candidates. You vote for your favourite candidate from the party you would prefer to govern the province.
Example: "On the 1st, local ballot, I'm voting for the Purple Party candidate because I think she is a great member of the local community. However, I would prefer the Yellow Party's policies generally, and would prefer if their leader was the Premier, so on the 2nd, province-wide ballot, I'm voting for the leader of the Yellow Party."
PEI would still have 27 seats in the legislature, the same as now.
18 seats for local districts, each with 1 MLA. (Elected from the 1st ballot)
9 seats for province-wide MLAs, to ensure proportionality across parties. (Elected from the 2nd ballot)
Parties nominate one candidate per district, as they do now, and also nominate an 'open' list of 9 province-wide candidates for voters to choose from, for the 9 'top-up'/'compensatory' seats.
Lists are recognized as a tool that can help a party to nominate more diverse candidates - a balance of men and women, urban and rural, diverse occupations, cultures and life experiences.
Independent candidates (not part of any political party) can run in local districts, but not for the province-wide seats (unless they register their own political 'party for one', which has happened once in Scotland's MMP system!)
Who wins the seats?
The most popular candidate in a local district will always be elected to that district's seat.
The 9 'top up' provincial seats will be filled by the candidates with the most votes, from parties who are under-represented at the district level, but who have strong province-wide support. This ensures an overall proportional balance in the legislature.
If a party deserves 3 top-up seats, they will be awarded to that party's 3 most popular candidates province-wide.
Parties do not get to control which people sit in the legislature. After parties nominate their representatives on the ballot, and independents register to run, the decision of who sits in the legislature is made entirely by the voters.
- You could take your concerns to your local MLA, or if you feel they aren't listening, you could speak with any of the 9 province-wide MLAs.
What is Proportional Representation?
Proportional Representation (PR) means that if 1 in 3 Islanders vote for candidates from the Dog Party, the Dog Party receives 1 in 3 seats in the legislature. It's simple and fair.
First Past the Post (our current system) results - most often - in governing parties having total control of the provincial government, even though fewer than half of islanders voted for them.
Our current government only earned 40.8% of the vote in the 2015 election, but won 2/3 of the seats. Fair? Democratic? Not so much.
From Referendum PEI for 2019
MMP for PEI (from the 2016 plebiscite)
How MMP works in under 5 minutes - from Brenda Oslawsky for the 2016 plebsicite.
MMP for Canada - 6 minutes - from Fair Vote Canada
More MMP resources & links
- FairVote Canada describes Mixed-Member Proportional Representation: www.fairvote.ca/mixed-member-proportional/
- Use the contact form at the bottom of this page if you have suggestions for other links for us to include on this page.
Last updated Feb 9.