Panel Discussion Offers Electoral Reform 101

When British Columbia voters go to the polls on May 12, they will do more than elect a new government. They will also cast a ballot on how they will vote in the future. Voters will be asked to choose between two electoral systems: the current “first past the post” system and the single transferable vote system (BC-STV).

What differentiates the two systems? How does BC-STV work? Which countries use the system now and why? To assist voters in making an informed decision about electoral reform the University of Victoria and the Times Colonist will host “BC’s Referendum on Democracy,” a public panel discussion on April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in room A120 of the Social Sciences and Mathematics Building. The event is being sponsored by UVic’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Department of Political Science.

Times Colonist Editor-in-Chief Lucinda Chodan will moderate a panel of experts who will discuss the two voting systems on the referendum. The panel members are: Simon Fraser University political scientist Lynda Erickson; UVic political scientist Dennis Pilon; and UVic political science professor emeritus Norman Ruff. The panelists will also respond to questions from the audience who will participate in a hands-on demonstration of the two voting methods as part of the evening.

“We want to provide voters with an opportunity to learn more about the voting systems on the May 12 referendum ballot and respond to some of their questions and concerns,” says Pilon, author of The Politics of Voting: Reforming Canada’s Electoral System. “The point will be to offer up what political science research can say about the pros and cons of the two options on offer.”

While the event is free, seating is limited. There is a $2 evening parking fee in effect. Permits can be purchased with coins or credit cards at automated machines in most parking lots.

Watch the live online broadcast.

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Media contacts

Dennis Pilon (Political Science) at 250-721-6430 or

Norman Ruff (Associate Professor Emeritus) at 250-477-6216

Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7756 or

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Keywords: panel, discussion, offers, electoral, reform, 101

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