Dual Member Proportional (DMP)

What is the Dual Member Proportional voting system?


In Dual Member Proportional (DMP), most electoral districts are combined with a neighbouring district and represented by two Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). The largest rural districts continue to have one MLA elected by getting the most votes. The graphic below illustrates how districts would be combined in an example jurisdiction.

First Past the Post

In two-MLA districts, parties can have one or two candidates on the ballot. Parties decide which of their candidates is listed first on the ballot and which is listed second, shown on the example ballot below as “primary candidate” and “secondary candidate”. Voters vote for a candidate or pair of candidates by marking the ballot once.

DMP ballot

The first seat in a district is won by the candidate with the most votes. For parties that run two candidates, this seat is filled by the candidate the party listed first on the ballot.

Second seats go to parties so that each party’s share of seats in the legislature roughly matches its share of the province-wide popular vote. A party’s second seats are filled in districts where its candidates did particularly well. Parties need at least five percent of the vote to get any second seats.

DMP was recently developed in Canada and is not currently in use.

Characteristics of Dual Member Proportional (DMP)


Voting
  • Parties nominate up to two candidates per district
  • Parties specify their first and second candidates on the ballot
  • Voters vote for one option on the ballot – a party’s candidate, candidates, or an independent candidate
Counting Urban and Semi-Urban Districts

  • The first candidate of the party with the most votes in the district wins the first seat
  • The second seat is won by a party based on its share of the popular vote province-wide and their performance in each district
  • Independent candidates win a seat if they place first or second in the district
  • A party must get at least 5 percent of the vote province-wide to get any second seats

Large Rural Districts

  • The candidate with the most votes wins
Results
  • Results are proportional at the provincial level
  • The candidate in second place may not win the second seat, because second seats are allocated to parties to get a proportional outcome
Representation
  • Between 87 and 95 MLAs
  • British Columbians in urban and semi-urban areas have two MLAs representing their district. These districts are likely to be represented by MLAs from different political parties.
  • British Columbians in large rural districts have one MLA representing their district
Electoral districts
  • Urban and semi-urban districts are combined with a neighbouring district
  • Boundaries of the largest rural districts stay the same
  • If DMP is adopted, an independent electoral boundaries commission will decide after the referendum which districts will stay the same and which will be combined