Second past the post. Brilliant!

This has to be my favourite April Fool’s email this year. Just had to repost. Hope you like it too.

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Fair Voting BC Introduces Second-Past-the-Post Electoral Reform Proposal!

Fair Voting BC is delighted to introduce today an exciting new electoral reform proposal called Second-Past-the-Post (SPTP).

In making this announcement, FVBC President Antony Hodgson said “Many Canadians are deeply concerned that the way we vote now ignores the voices of half the voters and prevents their concerns from being represented in Parliament.  They have become increasingly frustrated over the past few years that efforts to reform the system have been so strongly resisted by those who hold the levers of power.  They got seriously pissed off when Justin Trudeau promised over 1800 times in the runup to the 2015 election to fix things and then said “Oops – just kidding – my bad” when the Electoral Reform Committee that he couldn’t avoid setting up accidentally took him seriously once he was in power.”

“That really ticked us off”, said Hodgson, “because for the past decade lots of us had thought reform opponents were sincere when they expressed concern that letting Canadians elect who they actually want as MPs would crash democracy by letting the 60% of us who prefer extremists (i.e., those who didn’t vote for the Liberals in 2015) elect a majority totalitarian government, so we invested a ton of time in coming up with super-creative ways of voting that would make sure that, whatever happened, the Liberals would still be assured of winning a majority unless two-thirds of the voters turned out to be extremists, but would still give lefties in Alberta and righties in Toronto a few token MPs.  But despite our efforts, Trudeau shut down the process and shelved all these ideas.”

“Clearly, our strategy was wrong”, said Hodgson.  “All those proposals gave reform opponents talking points that the media couldn’t resist.  In retrospect, we should have put forward a proposal that wasn’t vulnerable to these criticisms.  After nearly seven years of intensive deliberations with leading political scientists across Canada, we’ve finally hit on the solution!  We call it ‘Second-Past-the-Post’ (SPTP)”.

“SPTP is deviously simple”, explained Hodgson.  “We would run elections exactly the way we currently do – single member districts, mark-an-X ballots, etc. – except that we’d elect the person who comes second in every district, not the one who comes first.”

Fair Voting BC reports that, had SPTP been used in the 2021 election, NDP supporters would finally have elected some MPs in Alberta and Conservative supporters would have elected MPs in Toronto.  Nationwide, the results would have been pretty proportional – the Conservatives would have won 125 seats (37% of the seats on 34% of the vote), the Liberals would have come second with 94 (28% on 33% of the vote), the NDP would have won 78 (23% on 18% of the vote), the BQ 35 (10% on 8% of the vote), and the PPC 6 (2% on 5% of the vote), though there would have been a notable dearth of Conservative MPs from Alberta.

“Damn”, said noted electoral reform opponent Bill Tieleman.  “I have to grudgingly admit that those electoral reform advocates have finally done it.  I quite like SPTP.  Even though it’s pretty proportional and gives the most seats to the party whose candidates won the most votes, which I usually oppose, it still keeps single member districts and screws more than half the voters in each of them – those are my main goals when considering any voting system.  And I secretly kinda like it that the NDP would finally get a reasonable share of the seats, even though I’ve never publicly given a rat’s ass about their fortunes in previous referendums.”

Prime Minister Trudeau commented that “I don’t like it that the Conservatives would win more votes and more seats than us, so there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that I’d support this, but I guess the effect would be the same as what we have now. We’d still form government with the NDP’s support, so it wouldn’t really work out too badly for us. If the NDP had the guts to make adopting SPTP a condition of supporting us in the next session, I guess we’d have to suck it up, but they probably won’t do that.”

Asked for any final comments, Hodgson noted that “getting SPTP adopted in Canada at the moment is probably a fool’s errand, but we’re committed to giving more Canadians a voice in Parliament, so we won’t stop trying.”

Yours for a stronger democracy, 

Antony Hodgson
President, Fair Voting BC

Fair Voting BC is a non-partisan, non-profit society working for fairer elections at all levels of government in BC.

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Categories: All, The lighter side

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