In districts using STV (urban), parties can run multiple candidates. Voters rank their preferred candidates on the ballot in order (1, 2, 3, etc.) and voters can rank as many candidates as they wish.
In districts using MMP (rural), voters will vote for a local district candidate and for candidates from party lists that will be used to top up the regional seats to achieve proportionality.
In this system, District MLAs represent electoral districts similar to the current FPTP system.
In urban ridings, these will be combinations of between 3 and 7 existing ridings and will elect as many members as there were districts.
In less densely-populated areas, there will be individual district MLAs and then multiple districts are combined to make up regions that are represented by several Regional MLAs. These regional seats are awarded to acheive proportionality in the region.
To count the STV ballots, several rounds of counting are required. Each district has a quota (minimum number of votes needed to win one seat) and any candidate that reaches that quota is elected. If an elected candidate has more votes than the quota requires, their extra votes are transferred to other candidates using the voter’s next highest ranked choice. Each round, the candidates with the fewest votes are dropped and the votes that they received are transferred to other candidates using the voter’s next highest ranked choice. Counting continues in this way until all the seats in the district are filled. Each urban and semi-urban district will have multiple MLAs representing their larger electoral district.
Under MMP, the candidates receiving the most votes from the party lists will be elected to fill the number of seats that party is entitled to. The party gets a certain number of seats to "top-up" their seats so that their regional seat proportion matches their regional share of the popular vote.
If RUP is chosen as the prefered voting system in the referendum, an independent electoral boundaries commision will determine the boundaries of electoral districts. They will also determine which districts will be classified as rural or urban, therefore deciding which districts will use which system. The Legislative Assembly will either stay the same size or increase by only a few seats to accommodate for the new electoral system.
RUP is not currently being used as a single system anywhere in world, however both MMP and STV are being used in several countries. MMP is used in Germany, New Zealand, and Scotland, while STV is used in Ireland and Malta.
RUP was designed by Fair Vote Canada (a non-profit organization that is in favor of electoral reform). STV was proposed in both the 2005 and 2009 referendums and was defeated both times.
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