The voters of Ontario Province will vote on October 10, 2007, on this question: “Which electoral system should Ontario use to elect members to the provincial legislature? (1) The existing electoral system (first-past-the-post); or (2) The alternative electoral system proposed by the Citizens Assembly (mixed member proportional)?” The question will be presented in French as well as English.
British Columbia had voted on proportional representation a few years ago, but the British Columbia referendum required 60% for Proportional Representation to win. It failed in British Columbia because it only got 58%. But in Ontario, proportional representation (choice #2) will win if it outpolls choice #1, the existing system. UPDATE: thanks to the individuals who corrected this statement. The Ontario vote also requires a 60% vote.
Mixed member proportional representation means a system in which voters vote first on a district representative, and then, in a separate vote, choose their favorite political party. If, for example, the Green Party wins no district seats, but polls 5% in the “favorite party” question, then it gets 5% of all the seats in the Provincial legislature. Each party submits a “party list” in advance of the election, with their spare candidates listed in order of priority. The “make-up” members are chosen from this list. Thanks to Dan Tokaji and the Election Law blog for this news.