Dual Member Proportional (DMP) is a proportional electoral system that was created by Sean Graham in 2013 with funding from the University of Alberta. It was designed to meet Canada’s unique needs and broaden support for proportional representation.
DMP appeared in Prince Edward Island’s 2016 plebiscite on democratic renewal, becoming the first Canadian invented proportional electoral system to be put to a public vote. More recently, it appeared in British Columbia’s 2018 referendum on electoral reform where it received more than a quarter of a million votes.
DMP works by replacing the existing single-member districts with about half as many dual-member districts. All candidates would run in their local district, and voters would choose their preferred candidate or pair of candidates using a straightforward single-vote ballot.
The first seat in every district would go to the local candidate with the most votes, just like in the current system. The second seats would be filled to create a proportional election outcome by electing the top local candidates from each party until they have received their fair share of seats. This makes DMP a highly competitive system, as candidates are competing not only to have the most votes locally but to also have the highest vote share among the other candidates from their party.
For an overview of how DMP works, check out the five-minute video found below.
Thank you to the Ryerson University students who animated and produced this video.
Advantages of DMP
DMP has many advantages over other proportional electoral systems. Some of the most noteworthy improvements are:
- Keeping the simple ballot design of Canada’s Single Member Plurality electoral system,
- Eliminating the need for long party lists,
- Retaining a higher degree of local representation and accountability,
- Accommodating rural communities by providing the full benefits of proportional representation without creating enormous districts,
- Not increasing in complexity from the voter’s perspective as region size increases,
- Satisfying the Senate clause when multiple provinces are included in one region (this is only applicable at the federal level).