Friday, October 5, 2007

Existing, antiquated system mostly penalizes supporters of the two biggest parties

Some critics of proportional voting systems say they only help out smaller parties and their supporters.

But in reality, our existing, antiquated system mostly penalizes supporters of the two biggest parties.

In the 2003 Ontario election, Liberal and Progressive Conservative voters cast over two-thirds of all wasted votes. Why? Because they happened to live in ridings where another party had more supporters, so their votes elected no one. In the ridings outside Toronto, 500,950 Liberal votes translated into nothing in 2003.

VoteforMMP.ca released a study yesterday covering the seven Ontario elections from 1980 to 2003, illustrating how our existing "Winner-Take-All" voting system distorted results, created phony majority governments, wasted millions of votes and disenfranchised the electorate.

Among the findings in the study:

- in provincial elections, most Ontarians (51%) cast votes that elect no one (compared to the last New Zealand election under MMP where only 1% of the votes were ineffective)

- among all provinces during the study period, Ontario had the highest percentage of voters that elected no one

- in the last Ontario election, 70% of the ineffective votes were cast by supporters of the two largest parties

- if every Ontarian who cast a wasted vote in the 2003 election formed a line beginning at Lake Ontario, the line would extend north through the province and out into Hudson Bay

- during the study period, Ontario had the second worst voter turnout record among the provinces

- in the 2003 election, Liberal votes had twice the weight of Conservative votes; in 1995 election Conservative votes had twice the weight of Liberal votes; and in 1990, NDP votes had about twice the weight of votes for the other parties

- in 1990, Ontario set a record by having a majority government formed by a party attracting less than 38% of the votes

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