…at least not in Canada. Once again BC voters rejected a referendum on proportional representation during this election. What this means is that electoral reform has failed now twice in BC and once in Ontario. Scott observes that electoral reform advocates might want to go for something like instant-runoff voting (IRV) as it might be easier to follow. Meanwhile Paul Wells suggests, among other things, that continued referendums aren’t exactly going to bolster support for electoral reform.
I think that these are really the two big takeaways from this vote. First past the post (FPTP) distorts voter intent and wastes all kinds of votes. It’s a great system for disengaging voters and creating apathy. But those of us who advocate for electoral reform need to figure what it will take to get apathetic voters to, well, cure their own apathy. It’s patently not enough to blog about insipid Toronto Star editorials or talk among other wonkish types about this stuff. If we want electoral reform we need to identify ways to make it relevant non-bloggers, non-nerds, non-poli-sci majors.
I guess the question now is how we go about building up some genuine grassroots feeling about this topic. How you get people to care about something as abstract as electoral reform in the midst of a deepening recession though is beyond me. Back to the drawing board. In the meantime electoral reformers, enjoy Kraftwerk perfoming Autobahn live (Germany has PR, right?):