If 60 per cent of British Columbians say “Yes” to the referendum question in today’s ballot the way candidates are elected in our province will drastically change.

The proposed B.C. Single Transferable Vote, or STV, system is about proportional representation. A party that receives 20 per cent of votes would get roughly 20 per cent of seats.

The current first-past-the-post system elects the local candidate with the most votes. His or her runners-up do not get seats.

Under the STV system, voters would list who they support in order of preference, which would help various candidates across the province get elected.

Supporters of STV say it could bring balance to the B.C. legislature by giving seats to non-mainstream parties and candidates. The Green party, for example, which won about 12 per cent of the popular vote in 2005 but has never had a candidate elected, is campaigning for STV.

Critics say the system is too complicated, lessens local representation and reduces the role of political parties.

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