The B5AV+C+P electoral reform scheme was proposed for consideration in all Canadian provinces except PEI by the Efficient Civics Guild.

five points plus or minus

It differs from the related BSTV+C+P scheme only in that B5AV replaces Single Transferable Vote ranking with an allocation vote of five points "plus or minus", i.e. any combination of whole numbers whose absolute value adds up to five, e.g. (+5 only, -4 and +1, -3 and -1 and +1, -1 on each of 5 options, +1 on each of five options).

Both approval votes and disapproval votes can be registered but with a limit of 5 points total. It is up to the voter how much to allocate negative and how much positive.

An allocation vote with both positive and negative options is thought to better separates expression of tolerances versus preferences and allows for some deeper insight and speculation about voter beliefs:
  • the total number can be taken as an indicator of the voters' overall faith in the political process, i.e. someone voting -5 clearly has more negative expectations of it than someone voting +5
  • parties and candidates can be assessed separately
  • correlations between approval of candidates and disapproval of parties speak to the degree to which persons act as personal moral examples against specific unpopular ideology
  • correlations between disapproval of candidates and approval of parties speak to the degree to which persons put their faith in processes not people, to resolve political questions
  • candidates can learn quickly whether their party is an advantage or disadvantage in their campaign, perhaps facilitating them to cross floors or simply adopt or promote positions of those others

Research is not available to determine how easily one can discern voter intent from an AV ballot. However, it would probably be no more than one or two elections before relationships between the voting patterns and reported voter intent could be established clearly so as to better guide participants in political processes.

degrades easily to first-choice, second-choice

If one restricts one's choices to a "+3 and +2" then, it remains possible to express a limited positive ranked vote to two or three candidates or parties on the ballot. Very significantly, any person who wishes to ignore the negative options and simply register a first and second choice can simply do that by entering "+3" points for their first and "+2" points for their second choice. If a third choice is required there might be six points, allowing "+3 and +2 and +1" to effectively rank "1st and 2nd and 3rd" respectively. However, if this is commonly done, the STV equivalent BSTV+C+P may be preferable as cardinal ranking is not ordinal ranking. There are also problems with using even numbers:

Using a prime number such as five or seven is thought optimal because it avoids the possibility of "3 and 3", "2 and 2 and 2" and requires a more positive choice between the options, unless one intends to broadly approve of a lot of options via "1 and 1 and 1 and 1 and 1". In other words, one can use a prime number of votes to simulate a Single Transferable Vote or a simple approval vote, but trying to more strongly approve of a small number of candidates requires ultimately ranking them in some preferential order. Five is preferable to seven votes simply for the relative simplicity.

Even with a prime number of votes, it remains possible to express positive preferences via "3 and 1 and 1" if there is no strong second choice. This is useful in the instance that someone wishes to express say an Anyone But Conservative sentiment strongly. Such sentiments are common in Canadian politics as usual which has long experience with three-party races which are quite often exercises in keeping one party "out".

It is also possible to interpret ballots marked in a conventional STV fashion, as "1" beside the first choice, and "2" beside the second, as being an intent to indicate "3 points" to the first and "2 points" to the second. This is not possible if three or six points are being allocated, however, nor if it is legitimate to allow a voter to allocate only 3 points.

This potential confusion is the only real problem with B5AV. It could be resolved by requiring that "1st" and "2nd" be specified, or that "+1" and "+2" be specified, and counting others as spoiled or negative ballots, to incent candidates to be sure that their supporters do not write in a "1" and accordingly cost them (counting as a "-1"). This would be kinder than mandatory voting and would encourage candidates to be closely involved in all informed voting initiatives.


The main advantages of B5AV+C+P over other schemes are:
  • degrades easily to positive first-choice second-choice
  • the deeper information available to the public, analysts, representatives, and parties as above
  • electoral districts having circuit representatives who represent sub-districts between elections as "Member for" that circuit - an advantage shared with the STV+C and BSTV+C+P schemes
  • stable bioregional districts: B5AV is a bioregional multi-member district scheme
  • proportional members: a small percentage, typically 10% but potentially 1/2 or even 2/3 of the members in some districts, could be elected by party-proportional means;
  • no party list: when a small percentage of the legislature is elected, as the scheme advises, there is no need for a party list controlled by the political party, thus no party hacks can maneuver their way onto the list without clear public approval
  • clear differentiation of party and candidate as the reasons why someone votes