It is now written in black on white in a bill: the referendum on the reform of the voting system in Prince Edward Island will be held at the same time as the next provincial election.
The elections are scheduled for fall 2019, but may be called as early as late summer, according to several rumors.
The referendum question will be: “Should Prince Edward Island change its voting system for a mixed proportional voting system? Voters will be asked to answer “yes” or “no” to this question.
If the “yes” side wins, the province will be the first to adopt a new voting system. If the “no” wins, the province will retain the first-past-the-post system.
A simple majority for a change in the voting system
In order for Prince Edward Island to adopt a new voting system, the “yes” vote will require a simple majority of more than 50% of the votes cast. However, the threshold for the majority will be calculated based on the turnout in the provincial election and not on the same day’s referendum turnout.
“It’s a serious issue. The threshold required for the majority must be right. Half of the people who go to the polls on election day, it seems fair to me, “said Jordan Brown, Minister of Justice and Public Safety, shortly after the referendum bill was tabled in the legislature. legislative, Thursday afternoon.
In 2016, a narrow majority of voters voted by plebiscite for Prince Edward Island to adopt a mixed proportional voting system. But judging the turnout rate too low, Premier Wade MacLauchlan promised to hold a referendum “with a clear question” on the reform of the voting system at the same time as the next provincial election.
Once the bill is passed, the legislature must appoint a referendum commissioner. This independent agent will have to oversee the democratic process, just like a Chief Electoral Officer. His term will end with the tabling of his report after the referendum.
Equal treatment for both sides
During the referendum campaign, the government plans to make $ 75,000 available to each camp. Each elector can also invest up to $ 500 in his pocket. “Both sides will be on an equal footing,” said Minister Jordan Brown.
Political parties and interest groups will not be able to interfere in the campaign.
Leader of the Opposition James Aylward is pleased that political parties are excluded from the referendum process. “It’s not a good idea for political parties to dictate how democracy should or should not work in the province,” he says.
Green Party leader and early campaigner for the reform of the voting system, Peter Bevan-Baker, believes the guidelines in the bill are clear. “The problem we had with the plebiscite was that it allowed people to argue that the vote was not legitimate,” he argues.
Lea Kawalchuck graduated from the University of Winnipeg 2005. Lea is an island transplant, having grown up in Manitoba. After graduating school, it didn’t take didn’t take her long to decide she wanted to stay on the island Lea has written for several major publications including The Vancouver Sun and the Huffington Post. Lea iis our community reporter and also covers world events.