OUR VIEW: Battle of the acronyms coming to your mailbox

So, you thought you were finished with voting?

You thought you were done with petty politics, exaggerated claims and hysterical fear mongering?

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You thought you were done having to research in order to make an informed decision?

You were mistaken.

Welcome to the exciting world of the referendum on proportional representation (we’re not being sarcastic; it really is exciting to take part in such an important referendum) – also known as prop rep.

Or simply, PR.

Ballots have been sent out and include two questions – the first will ask whether B.C. should switch from the current first-past-the-post election system (FPTP) to a system of proportional representation; the second question asks voters to rank three systems of proportional representation.

It’s important to get to know all the acronyms involved with PR because there are a few for the different systems being looked at to have PR replace our current voting system FPTP (hey, another acronym).

There is mixed-member proportional (MMP), dual member proportional (DMP) and rural-urban proportional (RUP). If you do want to ditch FPTP, study up on these three options. (We have a handy guide to them on page 15.)

This isn’t the first time B.C. voters have been asked about switching from the current FPTP electoral system to a form of proportional representation – referendums in 2005 and 2009 were both defeated (a previous recommended systems was the single-transferable vote – also known as STV).

Voting packages are set start arriving in mailboxes across the province between now and Nov. 2. Completed ballots must be returned to Elections BC by 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 30.

Complicating things are the rotating strikes from Canada Post workers.

Chief electoral officer Anton Boegman said earlier this week that the labour dispute at Canada Post is being watched closely by Elections BC for any potential impact during the mail-in referendum period. He expects the delivery of 3.3 million voter packages and ballots to be complete by Nov. 2. Boegman has the authority to add extra time to the deadline, which was done in 2011 when the voting period for a referendum on the harmonized sales tax was extended by two weeks due to a lockout at Canada Post. Packages are also being sent internationally to registered voters who are temporarily away from their homes in B.C.

Anyone who does not receive a package by Nov. 2 can request one by calling Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683 or online at elections.bc.ca/ovr. The deadline to request a voting package is Nov. 23.

For more details, visit elections.bc.ca/referendum.

So, that’s a quick rundown on how the referendum works. Now all you have to do is some research and fill out the ballot.

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