|Politician with Courage|
The provincial government will change the Municipal Elections Act to allow cities to adopt ranked-ballot voting by 2018.
The announcement, made Thursday morning by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin, was the central focus of a current review of the elections act, which will also look at campaign finance rules and enforcement of those rules.
Cities will not be obligated to use ranked-choice ballots, but changes to the act will allow those municipalities who want the system to adopt it. Toronto Mayor John Tory has publicly voiced his support to use ranked ballots in the 2018 election, while
Mayor Jim Watson has been more circumspect, wondering if it’s a change people want. In their Citizen candidate surveys filled out during the 2014 campaign, about half of current councillors were at least open to looking at ranked-choice ballots.
Fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters turned out to cast a ballot in Ottawa’s municipal election last fall. Proponents of ranked ballot voting say the system encourages more participation, less negative campaigning and does away with strategic voting.
Now it’s time for the provincial governments of Quebec, Alberta and BC to follow this bold step.