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Learn about proportional representation

Fair Vote South Okanagan-Similkameen are holding two events in September in Penticton

Are you unclear what proportional representation means?

Well, a group in Penticton and area wants to make sure you do before the provincial referendum.

Organizers from the Fair Vote South Okanagan-Similkameen are holding two events in September about proportional representation.

As part of Democracy Week, presenter Margaret Holm will lead audiences through a presentation called Proportional Representation: what it is and why it matters. The presentation will be held on Sept. 10 starting at 7 p.m. at the Penticton Seniors’ Drop-In Centre and Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Okanagan College Lecture Theatre in Penticton as part of the Okanagan College Speakers Series.

“Adopting a form of Proportional Representation is our best hope to reinvigorate our democratic processes”, said Holm in a press release. “People want to vote for what they believe in and see their vote count. They don’t want to plug their nose and vote strategically to keep out even worse politicians.”

Related: Proportional representation means more B.C. parties, coalitions

A press release from Fair Vote South Okanagan-Similkameen cited research from 2007 that found citizens in countries with proportional representation are more satisfied with their democracy and elected officials are more responsive.

“Similarly, citizens feel less satisfaction with democracy when the party they voted for wins seats disproportionate to their votes. Such has been the case in BC for 15 of the last 17 elections, where political parties with as little as 39% of the popular vote were able to form a government with 100% of the power,” the press release stated.

Other research listed in the press release points to an increased voter turnout in countries with proportional representation.

“Proponents of PR (proportional representation) also point out that in countries with PR, voter turnout is in the order of seven to eight percentage points higher. Research also observed that youth participation in elections in 15 countries suggests that the boost in turnout in proportional systems may be as much as 12 percentage points for youth (IDEA 1999:30). Similarly, research shows that women in parliamentary bodies is eight percentage points higher in PR countries (Lijphart:2012),” the release stated.

Referendum ballots will be mailed by Elections BC on October 22 to be returned no later than November 30.

Voters can learn more about proportional representation at www.fairvote.ca/pr4bc. Fair Vote South Okanagan Similkameen can be reached at sosfairvote@gmail.com.

Related: Former B.C. premier warns against change to proportional representation

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@TaraBowieBC
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