LETTER: Surrey really needs to adopt a preferential-ballot voting system

The Editor,

I was very glad to see so many others lined up with me to vote in the civic election today.

As I’m writing this, it’s only 6:30 p.m., so I don’t know who was elected, but for the eight council and six school board seats, I’m sure our preferences as voters will be reflected in the results.

However, I don’t think that’s true for the mayor’s position.

With seven people running for mayor in our current "first past the post" system, it’s conceivable that someone who got just a bit over one seventh of the votes could become mayor.

Of course that’s not likely, but if only four were running, the mayor could be elected by the votes of just over 25 per cent of the voters. This doesn’t feel democratic, no matter who eventually wins the position.

Please, city council, can we adopt a preferential-ballot voting system for all mayoral elections? That way, we voters could specify our first, second and third choices for the position and, if our first choice candidate has the least number of votes, then our second choice candidate would get our vote – and so on, until one candidate has a majority of the votes.

Sixty per cent of B.C. voters voted in support of this transferable vote method for provincial elections in 2009; it’s used in Ireland, Scotland, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and Iceland. Let’s do it this way in Surrey, too – and then we’d know that our mayor would always be the preference of a majority of Surrey voters.

Geoff Dean

Surrey

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