Vote for proportional representation and let your vote count
Vote for proportional representation and let your vote count

Under proportional representation, your vote will count in every election. Proportional representation ensures that a party which gets 40 per cent of the vote gets 40 per cent of the seats in the Legislature. Simple and fair.

When governments get 100 per cent of the power from just 40 per cent of voters, something is not right.

Election after election, a minority of voters get to decide our government and then that government gets a four-year dictatorship. It’s minority rule, plain and simple. And it’s unfair and undemocratic.

Is it any wonder people from across B.C. feel disenchanted with our democracy and distrustful of politicians and political parties? Is it any wonder that voter participation has been in a steady decline? And is it any wonder that young people, in particular, don’t see the point in voting?

This fall, British Columbians have the opportunity to change all that.

The opportunity to choose a new way of voting that works for you, no matter where you live and no matter what your political views. The opportunity to make your vote count.

I love voting and feel good when I do it. But like British Columbians in almost 70 per cent of the province, I live in a so-called safe seat. The outcome of the vote in my riding is determined regardless of how I cast my ballot. My vote doesn’t really matter. I’ve got a diverse group of friends and neighbours who support various political parties — Liberal, Conservative, Green, NDP — and yet they too know their vote often doesn’t count.

Under proportional representation, your vote will count in every election. Proportional representation ensures that a party which gets 40 per cent of the vote gets 40 per cent of the seats in the Legislature. Simple and fair.

No more holding your nose to vote for a candidate and party you don’t believe in — the dreaded strategic voting — because you’ll be able to vote your beliefs and values, knowing your vote will count.

Gone too will be the days when huge areas of the province have no voice in government. British Columbians in rural areas know only too well what it feels like to be shut out of decision-making. Under proportional representation, wherever you live, your part of the province will always be “in government” — no matter who wins the election.

We all know that politicians should be working together on the issues that are important to us. But we also know how shockingly rare that is under the current system. How many times have we seen MLAs vote for measures they know their constituents oppose? Under pro rep, they’ll have to think twice before pulling that kind of move.

In more than 90 countries around the world, proportional representation has led to more satisfaction with democratic institutions, more diverse involvement in elected politics, higher voter turnout and more youth engagement. Proportional representation gives everyone a voice.

It’s true that for most of us, proportional representation is unfamiliar, and taking on something new can feel risky. Know that with proportional representation, we will all get to keep our local MLA, and the size of the Legislature won’t increase much, if at all. Important safeguards are in place to ensure fringe parties don’t get undue influence. And the process has been set up so once voters get to see how it works, after two elections you’ll be able to change your mind if you don’t like proportional representation.

We really have everything to gain and nothing to lose from pro rep — a new way of voting that works for you. This fall, vote pro rep and get what you vote for.

Maria Dobrinskaya is the spokeswoman for the Vote PR B.C. campaign, the official proponent organization in this fall’s electoral reform referendum.

This article originally appeared in the Vancouver Sun. Find the original piece here.