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Citizen Round Table: Representation of Women and Minorities and Ballot Papers in the Event of Electoral Reform

14 June 2019

Categories: Institutional

On March 15, the members of the Citizen round table expressed their views on two aspects of a possible reform of the electoral system. They studied the idea of establishing quotas to encourage the representation of women and minorities in politics and gave their opinion on various models of ballot papers that could be used if such a reform were to go forward. They also discussed mechanisms of direct democracy and means of communicating with Élections Québec.

Representation of women and minorities

Because the Québec government has announced its desire to replace the current electoral system with a compensatory mixed proportional system, we surveyed Citizen round table members on two aspects of this reform. First, we invited them to express their opinion on the idea of establishing candidate quotas to ensure greater representation of women and minorities in politics. In this regard, the members were of the opinion that it would be preferable:

  • not to introduce binding quotas to encourage the representation of women or minorities;
  • to take advantage of training, coaching and mentoring programs to encourage women and minority candidates.

Ballot papers

We also surveyed Citizen round table members on various ballot paper models that could be used if the reform were implemented. Electors would be asked to vote twice: the first time, for a candidate running for a seat in a specific electoral division, as is currently the case; and the second time, for a list of candidates running for a regional seat for a party. On the topic of ballot papers, the members:

  • expressed a marked preference for the use of two distinct ballot papers rather than a single one;
  • wanted the names of all list candidates to appear on the ballot paper, for greater transparency.

During their meeting, the members also discussed ways in which citizens can contact us, as well as various mechanisms of direct democracy. Read the meeting abridged summary to learn more.

Citizen round table

The Citizen round table is a space for reflection and discussion. Its purpose is to promote citizen participation and to inform our thinking on election-related matters. The role of the members—12 electors appointed for a two-year term—is to provide us with their opinions, in an impartial and nonpartisan manner, on matters relating to the Québec electoral system and to do so with the interests of the Québec population in mind.

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