Vote for MMP releases "Dubious Democracy" study illustrating the need to scrap first-past-the-post voting in Ontario



    Dubious Democracy: Ontario Elections from 1980-2003

    TORONTO, Oct. 4 /CNW/ - VoteforMMP.ca today released a study covering the
seven Ontario elections from 1980 to 2003, illustrating how the
first-past-the-post voting system distorted results, created phony majority
governments, wasted millions of voters and disenfranchised the electorate.
    "Democracy means that every voter has the right to representation and the
majority win the right to make decisions," said Larry Gordon, campaign manager
of VoteForMMP.ca. "These indisputable core elements of democracy - and values
that all Canadians share - are routinely undermined in first-past-the-post
elections, as our study illustrates."
    A copy of the 10-page report is available at:
http://voteformmp.ca/campaign_materials

    
    Among the findings in the study:

    -   in provincial elections, most Ontarians (51%) cast votes that elect
        no one (compared to the last New Zealand election under MMP where
        only 1% of the votes were ineffective)

    -   among all provinces during the study period, Ontario had the highest
        percentage of voters that elected no one

    -   in the last Ontario election, 70% of the ineffective votes were cast
        by supporters of the two largest parties

    -   if every Ontarian who cast a wasted vote in the 2003 election formed
        a line beginning at Lake Ontario, the line would extend north through
        the province and out into Hudson Bay

    -   in 2003, more than 220,000 Conservative voters in Toronto elected no
        one, while approximately twice as many Liberal voters in Toronto were
        able to elect 19 MPPs

    -   during the study period, Ontario had the second worst voter turnout
        record among the provinces

    -   in the 2003 election, Liberal votes had twice the weight of
        Conservative votes; in 1995 election Conservative votes had twice the
        weight of Liberal votes; and in 1990, NDP votes had about twice the
        weight of votes for the other parties

    -   1937 was the last Ontario election in which a majority government was
        formed by a party that actually won a majority of votes

    -   in 1990, Ontario set a record by having a majority government formed
        by a party attracting less than 38% of the votes

    -   during the study period, the parties forming majority governments
        received seat bonuses of anywhere from 12% to 26% (the percentage of
        seats beyond the percentage of votes received)
    

    Aside from the election data, the voting system has additional
detrimental effects such as limiting choices for voters - e.g., many voters
live in ridings dominated by one party and feel forced to vote strategically
rather than sincerely. Likewise, voters supporting new and innovative parties
are penalized because voter support has to be geographically concentrated to
win seats under first-past-the-post.
    "These are just a few examples of the unfair results that we routinely
see in Ontario elections," said Gordon. "Does first-past-the-post voting
create a dubious democracy? The data speaks for itself."





For further information:

For further information: Larry Gordon: (647) 519-7585,
larry.gordon@fairvote.ca; Steve Withers: (519) 282-1078,
steve.withers@VoteForMMP.ca; www.VoteForMMP.ca

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