World Election Forecast

Polling averages and predictions for elections worldwide

Electoral Reform in British Columbia

In this series, we will be examining three of the most important alternatives to the current First-past-the-post system (FPTP) in British Columbia: Single Transferable Vote (STV), Alternative Vote (AV) and Proportional Representation (PR)

Liberal Seats 49 43 40 37
NDP Seats 34 38 42 34
Green Seats 1 2 1 7
Conservative Seats 0 1 0 4
Independent Seats 1 1 2 3
Worldwide Usage Canada, USA, UK, India and others Ireland, Australian Upper House Australian Lower House Germany, Italy, Russia, Brazil, Spain and others
BC Historical Usage Status Quo Referendums in 2005 and 2009 1952 and 1953 elections Possible Alternative

First Past the Post

Currently, BC uses First Past the Post to conduct its elections. In FPTP, the region is divided into single-member districts, and the victor of each region is represented, no matter how low the share of votes was. Looking at the results, we can see how the system benefits large parties by a large degree:

Party Popular Vote Seats Seat % Deviation
Liberals 44.13% 49 57.65% +13.52%
NDP 39.72% 34 40.00% +0.28%
Green 8.14% 1 1.18% -6.96%
Conservatives 4.75% 0 0% -4.75%
Independents 3.26% 1 1.18% -2.08%

Proportional Representation 1

PR is one of the most widely-used systems worldwide, with many different variations and forms. However the basic premise behind it remains the same: PR is an electoral system where the representation of a party is directly proportional to its percentage of the popular vote. In other words, if a party wins x% of the vote, it earns x% of the seats.

If PR was implemented in British Columbia for the 2013 election, we would expect the following results:

Party Popular Vote Seats Seat % Deviation
Liberals 44.13% 37 43.53% -0.60%
NDP 39.72% 34 40.00% +0.28%
Green 8.14% 7 8.24% +0.10%
Conservatives 4.75% 4 4.71% -0.04%
Independents 3.26% 3 3.53% +0.27%

Single Transferable Vote

Out of all proposed electoral systems, Single Transferable Vote (STV) has attained the most influence or fame in recent times, largely due to the two failed referendums in 2005 and 2009 to change the system. Under STV, BC would be grouped into multi-member districts, with each voter ranking the candidates in the district in order of preference. The candidates which reached a certain amount of support would win a seat in the riding, and have his/her votes redistributed to other candidates.

Our model used the results of the 2013 provincial election to find out what the electoral landscape would have looked like in if the election had been conducted under STV. The model used the proposed boundaries provided by Elections BC.


Analyzing the proportionality of STV:

Party Popular Vote Seats Seat % Deviation
Liberals 44.13% 43 50.59% +6.46%
NDP 39.72% 38 44.71% +4.99%
Green 8.14% 2 2.35% -5.79%
Conservatives 4.75% 1 1.18% -3.57%
Independents 3.26% 1 1.18% -2.08%

Alternative Vote

Alternative vote (AV), or otherwise known as Instant-runoff voting (IRV), has been used twice in BC’s history, in the 1952 and 1953 elections. Together with Single Transferable Vote (STV) and Proportional Representation (PR), it is one of the major electoral alternatives to the First Past the Post system currently used. Our Alternative Vote model attempts to calculate the hypothetical results of the 2013 BC Provincial Election under an AV system.


Analyzing the proportionality of AV:

Party Popular Vote Seats Seat % Deviation
Liberals 44.13% 40 47.06% +2.93%
NDP 39.72% 42 49.41% +9.69%
Green 8.14% 1 1.18% -6.96%
Conservatives 4.75% 0 0% -4.75%
Independents 3.26% 2 2.35% -0.91%

1. We use the Webster/Sainte-Laguë method (used for elections to the German Bundstag) to calculate seat totals for PR. Whilst there is a slight difference between this and the D’Hondt method, the results are largely the same. In addition, we assume there are no overhang seats in the calculation.

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