Electorate votes down MMP

Overwhelming majority votes to stick with plurality

Less than an hour after polls closed last night, hope had run out for the proposed mixed member proportional electoral system.

By 2 a.m. today, 63.3 per cent of voters voted in favour of the current first-past-the-post system and 36.7 voted for mixed member proportional.

“The results so far are disappointing,” said Chris Horkins, one of the leaders of the Queen’s Vote for MMP campaign.

Horkins blamed the loss partly on a lack of information about the referendum choices.

“It’s unfair the people of Ontario didn’t get a chance to get fully informed,” he said.

He said the election’s results, in which the Liberals won a majority government with only 42.2 per cent of the popular vote, show the need for electoral reform.

“I hope it’s not the last chance we’ll see for electoral reform,” he said. “The problems that existed with first-past-the-post are still alive today.”

Luke Field, leader of Queen’s No MMP campaign, agreed electoral reform is necessary.

“I think it was an important issue to put on the agenda whether or not we’re happy with our current system,” he said.

“I think first-past-the-post was the best choice in this referendum but I’m absolutely open to new ideas, new proposals.” Field said he doesn’t think a lack of information about MMP was the reason for the “No” vote.

“What happened was the more people knew about MMP, the more they didn’t like it,” he said. “That’s why it lost by such a large margin.”

Green Party candidate Bridget Doherty, who was in favour of MMP, said Elections Ontario dropped the ball on public education.

“There was no follow-through with educating the Ontario public,” she said. “I’m disappointed that it wasn’t done properly.” Doherty said the question’s wording was too complicated and intimidated voters.

“The question wasn’t a fair one,” she said. “As soon as people read the word ‘alternative,’ that’s a problem.”

—With files from Andrew Bucholtz, Angela Hickman, Lisa Jemison and Mike Woods

Unofficial referendum results

Yes: 36.7 per cent

No: 63.3 per cent

Source: Elections Ontario

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