Canadians want online voting and proportional representation, says poll

Woman on iPad (Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock)

An overwhelming majority of Canadians want online voting and proportional representation, according to a new poll by NRG Research Group and Peak Communicators.

Researchers carried out an online survey among 1,000 Canadians on May 25 and 26, in English and French, to poll their views on the country’s electoral system.

Nationwide, 70% of respondents nationwide felt online voting should be an option for voting in federal elections. That support was reflected no matter people’s age or gender.

Respondents were then asked about which voting system they found most appealing, choosing from first-past-the-post and three different types of proportional representation.

Only a quarter chose first-past-the-post, the current method, in which whoever gets the most votes wins – even if they do not have the support of the majority of voters.

Most respondents chose some form of alternative to first-past-the-post – 23% supported mixed member proportional, 19% chose pure proportional and 14% chose ranked voting. However, when asked if voting should be mandatory, only 34% of respondents supported the idea, while 57% said its should stay voluntary.

Justin Trudeau has promised to introduce legislation by May 2017 that would end the use of first-past-the-post in federal elections and make voting mandatory. An all-party parliamentary committee was formed early this year to consider alternatives to the first-past-the-post system, such as proportional representation or a preferential ballot.

Interestingly, while there are no plans to hold a referendum on voting changes, 67% of poll respondents disagreed, saying the final decision on the issue should be put to the people.

Editor’s Note: This article originally referred to the preferential ballot as a form of proportional representation. However, this is not the case and the post has been updated to reflect this. 

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Jenni Sheppard Staff writer at Vancity Buzz. Happy Vancouverite. Traveller, snowboarder, film fan, feminist, geek, curler.

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