The majority of Yukoners support the creation of a citizens’ assembly on electoral reform in the Yukon, according to the results of a survey.
The survey conducted by the Yukon Bureau of Statistics sought Yukoners’ thoughts on forming a citizens’ assembly to assess electoral systems and recommend whether the current system should be kept or another system taken up. In a release on April 11, a citizens’ assembly (also known as a citizens’ jury, citizens’ panel or policy jury) is defined as “an independent, non-partisan body formed of randomly selected individuals to deliberate on important issues.”
Just under two-thirds (63.2 per cent) of respondents supported the formation of an assembly, while 8.4 per cent did not and more than a quarter were unsure.
In total, the response rate was 17.5 per cent, with 6,354 respondents completing the survey.
The survey contained five questions, starting by asking Yukoners if they support the formation of a citizens’ assembly, the size of the assembly and its makeup, preferred methods of providing input to the assembly and respondents’ interest in participating as a member of the assembly.
In terms of the size of the assembly, the most popular option was two members per riding, totalling 38 members, at 31.3 per cent. The second most popular option was one member per riding, with 19 members in total, at 27 per cent. Close to one-fifth (18.2 per cent) of respondents were not sure.
Some respondents who had selected “no” in response to the first question used the comment field in question two to reiterate or explain their position.
“Their explanations included concerns that the process would be inefficient, costly, or unlikely to be successful. Some said they favoured a referendum instead of a citizens’ assembly, while others said they wished to see elected officials do the work or they preferred the current electoral system. Other common responses included a desire to see a citizens’ assembly with fewer than 19 members; selection of members by population or community rather than by riding; and inclusion of additional members to represent specific groups such as Yukon First Nations or youth,” reads the survey report.
“Many respondents wrote about the need for diversity and inclusion amongst the members of the assembly, while others raised issues such as the need for political neutrality, skills and experience of the members.”
In terms of how to provide input, surveys were the most popular option. Written feedback, attending public hearings in person or by teleconference or videoconference followed behind, in that order.
Forty-three per cent of respondents indicated they had no intention of participating as a member of a citizens’ assembly. More than a quarter (28.2 per cent) of respondents said they had interest in participating as a member and another 28.8 per cent were not sure.
Invites to the survey were sent by email and mail. The survey ended on March 5.
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org