We're having a provincial election in British Columbia today, to decide which of our political parties will form the government for the next few years here on Canada's west coast. As in the British and Canadian federal parliamentary systems, we elect a local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), and whichever party elects the most runs the province.
Tim Bray summarizes the situation much the way I would—however, despite my distaste for the social democrat NDP's pandering on environmental policy, I'm still voting for them, rather than for the Greens as Tim is.
That's a strategic choice. Like him, I think the referendum on electoral reform we're also holding today is even more important: the BC-STV (Single Transferable Vote) proposal is, I think, a good one, and would allow a vote for the Green Party (or other less mainstream parties and candidates) to mean something in subsequent elections. I hope it passes, as it nearly did in 2005. If it fails, I think any idea of electoral system reform in Canada will be dead for a long, long time, which would be a shame.
My wife and I voted about half an hour ago, and foot traffic at our local poll was brisk, but there were no lineups. Unlike in the United States, we continue to use simple paper ballots, marked with pencils, for all our elections here in Canada, and the results always come in quickly and efficiently. While counting might take a tad longer, that will still be true next election if BC-STV passes, despite the "it's too complicated" tactics of the No To STV campaign. As for today's vote, we'll know by late this evening what the results are.
If you're a B.C. citizen of eligible age, please make sure you vote today—you have a little over five hours until the 8 p.m. closing time at the polls. (Bring your yellow voter card and a piece of ID with your address, like a driver's license.) Even if you don't know or care enough about the parties or candidates to elect an MLA, if you support BC-STV, then please go out and vote just for that. It's important.