Ontario may adopt new voting system

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Canadian province of Ontario may use a new system to elect its Members of Provincial Parliament (MPP) starting in 2011. A binding referendum on the question is to occur during the general elections on October 10 this year.

The Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform recommended on May 15, 2007 that Ontario will switch to Mixed member proportional representation (MMPR).

Under MMPR, Ontario's 107-seat legislature would be replaced with one with 129 seats. Of these, 90 would be elected from ridings under the existing first past the post (FPTP) system. The remaining 39, however, would be "list members" (not associated with specific regions) publicly nominated in advance by parties and assigned so that each party's total representation was in proportion to its share of the popular vote. It will also ask Ontario voters on election day whether they want to vote for the party or vote for the candidate. If someone votes for the party, they are still voting for the candidate which keeps the current electorial system unchanged.

Proponents say the system will be fairer to minor parties. Critics say it would be too complicated for most voters to learn to use.