PEI’s Electoral System Referendum in a nutshell
The referendum question is: Should PEI change its voting system to a Mixed Member Proportional system? The answer is either “No” or “Yes”
The referendum will be held at the same time as the general election. Anyone entitled to vote in the general elections is entitled to vote in the referendum.
The electoral system PEI currently uses is referred to as “First Past the Post” (FPTP)
A Mixed Member Proportional system features a mix of FPTP and Proportional Representation
According to the Electoral System Referendum Act, the government of PEI will bring forth legislation to implement a mixed member proportional (MMP) electoral system if the “Yes” side gets 50%+1 of the validly cast votes Province-wide plus 50% +1 of the validly cast votes in 17 of the 27 districts.
An unmarked ballot deposited in the ballot box is not a validly cast ballot.
Under FPTP there are 27 district seats. Under the proposed MMP there would be 18 district seats and 9 Province-wide party list seats.
The 18 districts would be considerably larger than the 27 districts we have now.
Under MMP the 18 districts would continue to elect their MLA using the FPTP system
The 9 party list MLAs would be Province-wide MLAs.
The 9 Province-wide seats would be allocated among parties that do not win enough seats at the district level to adequately reflect their share of the popular vote.
Under the MMP system each voter gets 2 votes. One for a district candidate and one for a party list candidate.
The parties chose the candidates on their lists and the order in which they appear on the ballot. Each party could have a long list of candidates.
A voter can vote for a party list candidate from a different party than the one he or she voted for at the district level.
A vote for a list candidate is a vote for that candidate’s party.
A vote for a party list candidate goes to increase that party’s share of the popular vote even if that candidate is not elected.
Only the votes for party list candidates are used to determine the popular vote.
Under the MMP system the popular vote determines the percentage of the total seats in the legislature each party should hold.
The popular vote and the number of district seats won determines which parties get list seats and how many they get.
Under MMP, if a party gets 40% of the votes on the party list part of the ballot it should get 40% of the 27 seats which is 11. If the party won only 6 at the district level, it will get 5 of the party list seats to take its total up to the 11 the popular vote indicates it deserves.
If a party wins enough or more than enough seats at the district level to reflect its share of the popular vote it will not get any additional seats from the party list portion of the ballot.
A party list candidate will not get a seat regardless of how many votes she or he gets if her or his party wins enough district seats to reflect its share of the popular vote.
A party that wins more than enough seats at the district level to reflect its share of the popular vote can nevertheless keep all of the district seats it won.
Independents can be candidates for district seats but not for party list seats.
If a party gets a party list seat it will be occupied in the legislature by its list candidate who got the most votes. If it get 3 list seats they will be occupied by its 3 top vote-getters.
Under MMP a majority government in PEI s would be possible but unlikely. Sweeps or near-sweeps would even be more unlikely. The most likely result would be minority government or coalition.
If the “Yes” side wins the referendum, Government’s commitment is to bring forth the legislation needed to implement an MMP system “that is substantially as described in Schedule 2” of the Electoral System Referendum Act. However, there are a number of significant issues not addressed in Schedule 2 that would likely come up to be dealt with in the implementing legislation. Examples: the eligibility threshold for list seats, and the question of dual candidacy, filling province –wide seat vacancies.