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ROBBINS helps save Vancouver City $700,000 on 'ward system'
  Sep 11, 2004

A random survey of 750 respondents throughout the City of Vancouver, all of whom “normally vote” in Vancouver civic elections with close to 350 respondents being obtained ‘east of main street’, and close to 300 being obtained ‘west of main street’, and ‘close to’ 399 of the respondents being female voters, who ROBBINS believes were slightly more eager to participate in this survey than men were. This survey was undertaken between September 3 and 10, 2004. The margin of error in this survey is 5.25%, 18 times out of 20, @97% competency. Approximately 1 out of 30 ‘potential respondents’ refused to take the survey.

Question #1
In your opinion, how satisfied are you with the current format for electing the mayor and city councillors in the City of Vancouver civic elections?
Very satisfied    7.20 %
Satisfied    56.67 %
Not very satisfied    27.87 %
Question #2
Would you seriously consider adopting a new and different electoral format for electing city councillors in City of Vancouver civic elections?
Yes    77.47 %
No    17.20 %
Undecided/Unsure    5.33 %
Question #3
(Preamble) The current electoral format in the City of Vancouver civic elections is known as the ‘at-large’ electoral system. Under the ‘at-large’ system the Mayor and all Vancouver city councilors are selected on the election ballot by name basis, with no specific consideration being given to their specific residence in the City of Vancouver. Currently there is a debate in Vancouver as to whether or not the current electoral format should be changed to a ‘ward system’ for electing Vancouver city councillors only. The ‘ward system’ electoral format would require that a city councilor be elected to represent one of fourteen ‘wards’ or districts within the City of Vancouver. In your opinion should the City of Vancouver: (a) leave the election format the way it currently is, as an ‘at-large’ format for electing city councilors; or (b) change the electoral format to one known as the ‘ward system’
(a)    30.13 %
(b)    66.88 %
Undecided    3.06 %
Question #4
In your opinion should the City of Vancouver pay $700,000 for a referendum in order for its citizens to decide matters of electoral reform in City of Vancouver civic elections?
Yes    6.27 %
No    91.73 %
Undecided/Unsure    2.0 %
Question #5
In your opinion, which of the following electoral formats do you believe would function most fairly in City of Vancouver civic elections?
the current ‘at-large’ electoral format    29.20 %
the ‘ward system’ electoral format where one councilor is elected from 14 different districts    59.33 %
proportional representation    10.20 %
Commentary
Although the majority of respondents in this survey indicate they are satisfied with the current electoral format, it is obvious from the response to Question #2 that they are receptive, even eager for electoral change. In fact, more than three-quarters of respondents indicated they “would seriously consider adopting a new electoral format”.
The rather long preamble in Question #3 did not deter any of the respondents in this survey. Some respondents who favoured the ‘ward system’ suggested how we might change our preamble “to make it better”. It was clear that citizens in Vancouver knew what we were talking about. For any government, this is half the battle.
Vancouver residents don’t want a referendum on the ‘ward system’. These respondents are very reluctant to spend the $700,000, but other respondents who rejected the referendum decision, indicated that they already had a referendum over the Olympics, and did not want to be troubled participating in another at this time. Clearly, the more spirited respondents in this survey were with the majority, those that are serious about adopting a ‘new and different’ electoral format, and who chose the ‘ward system’. Opponents of the ‘ward system’ electoral format may not be happy with the results of this survey, but ROBBINS is fairly certain, any referendum would ultimately permit the ‘ward system’ electoral format to be adopted.

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