Cooper Institute has been involved in electoral reform since involvement in the "Yes" side of the 2005 PEI plebiscite on Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) as a model for proportional representation. Shortly after the plebiscite when voters rejected MMP, for various reasons, members of the "yes" and "no" sides agreed to keep the issue of electoral reform alive by forming the Electoral Reform Committee which organized a workshop in the Fall of 2006. Out of that workshop came the formation of an Electoral Reform Working Group which met over the winter.
The mandate of the Working Group was to develop recommendations for PEI's own Citizen's Assembly on Electoral Reform and to organize a public workshop on these recommendations for the Fall of 2007.
The following is a tentative description of the mission of the Citizens' Assembly according to the working group. The PEI Citizens' Assembly is a group of Islanders, randomly selected to reflect the composition of the Island voting population, established by [government mandate].The role of the Citizens' Assembly is to assess systems for electing MLAs with a view to recommending either maintaining the existing model or adopting an alternative model. The Citizens' Assembly will fulfill this role through a process of learning, public consultation and deliberation.
An action following from the October 27 workshop was to send Premier Ghiz a report of the workshop and a letter requesting the Premier's response relating to his election platform in which is found the following commitment: A Liberal Government will put Islanders first by...establishing a Citizens assembly to undertake broader consideration of electoral reform that is citizen-based. The Premier has asked to meet with the Electoral Reform Committee in early January, 2008.