David Graham had a detailed article written in the Guelph Mercury that he highlighted at his blog yesterday about how he was in favour of reforming the voting system we have by changing it from what we currently have (First Past The Post) to Instant Run-Off Voting.
David and I have disagreed many times – sometimes vehemently – over what type of electoral voting system reforms Canada should have. We were on opposite sides of the MMP referendum last year in Ontario. That said, I follow the view of the website Liberals For Electoral Reform, who yesterday affirmed that while the site does support the Single-Transferable Vote Option that narrowly failed in BC in 2005 and is up again for consideration in May 2009. it will support IRV if STV fails again to pass in the BC referendum.
I don’t think IRV is the best electoral reform we can have. Indeed, I’ve written before why I didn’t think IRV was the correct answer for electoral reform. But, like Liberals For Electoral Reform, I recognize it may end up being the only viable alternative to the First Past The Post (FPTP) we currently have in place, and thus I support trying IRV out, because I think it is still inherently better then the current FPTP voting system – witness David reminding us at his column that 70% of Guelph voters did not vote Conservative, yet the Conservative candidate came with in 3% of “winning” the riding.
So to sum up, I too hope STV passes in BC, so voters can be given a chance to see how the model works and if it works better then FPTP. If it does, then there is a good chance it may gain favour in other voting locales in Canada. If voters decide not to give STV a look, then IRV has to be given a look-see. I should state though that if in a province or federally IRV was implemented right now, that wouldn’t bother me either. My view is despite some of the flaws that IRV might contain, it still would be an improvement over FPTP.
This is why I’m in mild disagreement with some of my electoral reform colleagues farther left then I am, who argue that if a voting reform were to pass that they didn’t like, that we’d be stuck with it. That’s not true at all, in my view. Every voting system has it’s flaws, but the only way to see if a voting model works better or not then the current model is to actually put it in place and try it out. Nothing stops people from reverting back to the old FPTP or something different if the IRV model is tried and it isn’t an improvement over FPTP.