Citizens Assembly Fact Sheet
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Fact Sheet on
Completed Citizens Assemblies

Note: This is Table 1 in  J.H. Snider's Would You Ask Turkey's to Mandate Thanksgiving?  Using Citizens Assemblies to Reform the Process of Democratic Reform.  If you use Table 1, please reference it as J.H. Snider, "Would You Ask Turkey's to Mandate Thanksgiving?  Using Citizens Assemblies to Reform the Process of Democratic Reform," Working Paper D-46 (Cambridge, MA: Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, July 2008).

Table 1.  Comparison of British Columbia, Netherlands, and Ontario Citizens Assemblies

 

British
Columbia

Netherlands

Ontario

Meetings Start

January 2004

March 2006

September 2006

Meetings Finish

November 2004

November 2006

April 2007

Date of Final Report

December 10, 2004

December 14, 2006

May 15, 2007

Referendum Date

May 15, 2005
May 12, 2009
[i]

N.A.

October 10, 2007

# of Members

161[ii]

140

104[iii]

Alternate  Members Selected[iv]

0

4

0

Total Dropouts

1

6

1

# of Political Districts

79

12

103

Members/District

2

from 3 to 30

1

Members Selected From Districts

158

140

103

Members Selected at Large

2[v]

0

0

Members Supporting Final Recommendation

95%
(145/152)

114/127

84%
(86 of 102 votes)

Voters Supporting Referendum

57.7%

N.A.

36.9%

Votes Required to Pass Referendum

60%

N.A.

60%

Budget for Member Deliberations[vi]

$5.5 million

€5.1 million

$5.5 million

Budget for Marketing the Referendum

$.5 million

N.A.

$6.8 million

Total Government Budget

$6.0 million

€5.1 million

$12.3 million

Jurisdiction

Select Electoral System

Select Electoral System

Select Electoral System

Formal Power

Place referendum on ballot

Issue report to parliament

Place referendum on ballot

Status Quo System

Non-Proportional

Party-Centered Proportional

Non-Proportional

Recommended  System

Single Transferable Vote Proportional

More Candidate-Centered Proportional

Mixed Member Proportional

Stratification Criteria for Random Sample

Gender, Age, District, Aboriginal

Gender, Age, District

Gender, Age,  District, Aboriginal

Population

 4.4 million

16.3 million

 12.9 million

Initial Sample Size

23,034

50,000

123,489

Positive Responses

1,715

4,000

7,033

% Initial Yield

0.07

0.08

0.06

2nd Round Sample Size (invited to attend information session)

1,441

N.A.

1,253

Number of Information Sessions

27

N.A.

29

Positive Responses After Informational Session

914

1,700

N.A.[vii]

Final Round Sample Size

160

140

103



[i] A second, identical referendum: the first referendum failing by such a close margin that the government placed the same referendum on the ballot for the next election.

[ii] Includes two native Americans (called "First Nation" people in Canada) and chair of the citizens assembly.

[iii] Includes the chair of the citizens assembly.

[iv] Two were selected for each selected delegate as part of the final selection process.  But none of the delegates in British Columbia and Ontario dropped out in a timely way, so no alternates were selected.

[v] Only the aboriginal members were selected at large.

[vi] In units of country of origin, not U.S. dollars.

[vii] The absence of this information in the 262 page official report summarizing the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform deserves note.  The only discussion of this dropout rate is the observation: “Throughout the meetings, only a handful of people declined to enter their names.”