Power to the people

The process of selecting candidates to run in an election continues to be a contentious issue, and subject to a lot of controversy and misinterpretation.

Traditionally, party members nominate the party’s candidates. Today, party leaders and party brass control the nomination process, and candidates will not be on that list without awarding the leader full control of how they vote in the legislature.

The list of candidates is often referred to as "party list" or "open list," depending on how it was produced.

Using first past the post, a list of candidates is produced by the party brass, who select and rank the candidates.

Under PR, using open list ballots, the candidates are ranked by voters, by giving them two choices on the ballot.

One vote to make sure the seats the parties are awarded in the legislature is an accurate reflection of the popular vote, and another vote to elect the candidate they want to represent them.

The candidates are then ranked in their electoral regions and the province simply by how many votes they get.

By separating the party vote from the candidate vote and using "open list," party leaders and party brass can no longer manipulate candidates, making PR open list the most honest and transparent system used in most democracies today.

The claims that PR systems are used and abused to randomly appoint candidates to fill party seats are pure nonsense.

Voters can continue to support their party of choice while they are free to vote for any of the candidates. That is how a multi-member (MMP) open list PR system gives power back to the people.

Andy Thomsen, Kelowna

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