Prince Edward Island electoral reform referendum, 2005

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A referendum was held in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island on November 28, 2005 to determine whether to adopt the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system as presented by the Commission on Prince Edward Island's Electoral Future.

It failed (see below). [1] However, a subsequent nonbinding plebiscite in November 2016 resulted in a vote in favour of MMP.[2]

Results[edit]

The question asked was: Should Prince Edward Island change to the Mixed Member Proportional System as presented by the Commission of PEI's Electoral Future?

Option Popular Vote Districts carried
# % # %
X No 20,515 63.58% 25 92.59%
Yes* 11,750 36.42% 2 7.41%
Total 32,265 100.0% 27 100.0%

* In order to pass, the referendum had to receive 60% of the province-wide popular vote and a simple majority in 60% (16 of 27) of the electoral districts.

Analysis[edit]

The referendum was held in response to some extraordinarily lopsided results in PEI from the first-past-the post system - cases where the opposition was reduced to only one or two seats despite having a combined 45% share of the vote. The referendum failed to pass by a vote of 64% to 36% in favour of the status quo for a number of reasons, but for Jeannie Lea, the primary lesson to be learned appears to be the need for a referendum such as this to be done as a two-step process, in which the first step is to ask whether a change is considered desirable and the second step involves the choice of a specific model, as was done successfully in New Zealand under the 1992/93 referendum. Otherwise, a bias is created because some people will vote against the proposed because they would prefer something somewhat different.[3]

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