in Dublin Central
any British Columbian accepts the claims being made about
BC-STV, attention should be paid to how politics works in
Ireland with "large
personalized political organizations" and machines of
"ward bosses and street captains".
June a by-election will be held in Ireland's electoral district
named Dublin Central. That is important thousands of kilometers
away in British Columbia, where the results will come too
late to help inform B.C.'s referendum on electoral reform.
Central provides a particularly interesting case study
in how the Single-Transferable-Vote (STV) works. In Ireland's
2007 election, Cyprian Brady was elected although he finished
in 9th place on the first count of ballots. The fact that
Paschal Donohoe had 3,302 votes on the first count compared
to Brady's 939 didn't matter in the end, because after 8 rounds
of counting, transferring and exhausting ballots, Brady emerged
victorious even though he didn't achieve the 6,928 vote quota
to win on an earlier round. The way STV works, the last person
elected frequently wins with less than the minimum quota necessary
in the early rounds.
British Columbians vote in favour of BC-STV, they had better
get used to unpopular candidates winning. The death of independent
Tony Gregory necessitates a by-election in Dublin Central,
but contrary to propaganda from proponents of STV, the IrishTimes.com
wrote: "Gregory, as an Independent, was an electoral
peculiarity, managing to hold his seat in eight successive
general elections." BC-STV proponents would have you
believe that their favored voting system makes political parties
weaker, but the IrishTimes.com
wrote: "For the last three decades its politics has been
dominated by large personalized political organizations,
of which Gregory's was only one. The strongest was, and in
theory still is, Bertie Ahern's, with its legendary well-resourced
machine of ward bosses and street captains." That
sounds more like the fabled Chicago or New York ward politics
of another century than like the stuff of electoral reform.
uses the single transferable vote in its elections, something
that British Columbians need to understand before they decide
whether to become the first significant jurisdiction not to
reject it as their electoral system. In New Zealand's 1992
referendum on electoral reform only 17% supported STV. Ontario's
Citizens' Assembly rejected it, as did Prince Edward Islands'
Commission. British Columbia is the only place with a population
more than 1 million than has seriously come close to adopting
Ireland's unusual voting system.
B.C. accepts large multiple-MLA electoral areas, voters need
to learn more about how STV really works in Ireland, Malta