Fraser-Nicola votes almost 75 per cent for First-Past-the-Post

B.C. voters have voted decisively in favour of retaining the First-Past-the-Post electoral system, while rejecting the provincial government’s proposed options for proportional representation.

Just over 61 per cent of participating voters in the mail-in referendum opted to stay with the First-Past-the-Post system, Chief Electoral Officer Anton Boegman reported Thursday.

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In Fraser-Nicola, 7259 voters voted 73.94 per cent in favour of First-Past-the-Post, while 2558 voters, or 26.66 per cent, cast their ballots for Proportional Representation.

The referendum offered a choice between the traditional FPTP voting system, essentially a separate election for each of B.C.’s 87 provincial seats, and three variations on proportional representation to make the number of seats match more closely with the party’s share of the province-wide vote.

The votes in the Fraser-Nicola riding for the three Proportional Representation options broke down this way:

-       40.4 per cent for rural urban proportional

-       30.65 per cent for mixed member proportional

-       28.88 for dual member proportional

Province-wide, mixed member proportional was supported by 41.24 per cent of those who chose to answer question two on the mail-in ballot. Dual member proportional and rural-urban proportional each received just under 30 per cent.

The referendum cost about $15 million to stage, with more than four million ballot packages mailed out to registered voters. The final turnout was 42.6 per cent ballots returned.

This referendum is the third referenda on changing the voting system. In 2005 and 2009, B.C. voters rejected the single transferable ballot system.

This referendum also differed from earlier ones by having no minimum turnout and no regional weighting to ensure that urban areas in the southwest didn’t decide the issue.

“This was a flawed process from the beginning as the NDP stacked the deck to satisfy the Green Party and remain in power,” B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said.

Premier John Horgan issued a statement saying, “While many people, myself included, are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the people’s decision.”

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver echoed Horgan’s disappointment.

“The B.C. Greens remain committed to the principle of representative democracy,” Weaver said.

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