Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ranked ballots in 2018: Democracy is coming to Canada!

Politician with Courage
And not a moment too soon! The Liberal Party government of the province of Ontario deserves the congratulations of every Canadian for their bold step in dragging democracy into the 21st century with this step:

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.

1 comment :

  1. Ranked Ballot Voting would also be an incredible improvement in provincial and federal elections over our existing system, First Past the Post, which is a barbarous relic among developed countries (32 of 34 developed countries ensure an actual majority is represented in government.)

    FPTP produces the literal opposite of democracy by awarding absolute power to MINORITY parties on less than 40% of the vote, excluding the super-majority from government. It's nothing short of insane.

    Something Canadians and Britons fail to realize (not surprisingly) is that it takes democracy to get democracy. That is, in order to select a voting system democratically, all major voting systems must be put on the ballot. Then some form of runoff voting must be used to ensure one system has the support of a majority.

    The most efficient and least biased method is to put the three major forms on a referendum ballot -- FPTP, Proportional Representation, and Ranked Ballot Voting -- then hold a runoff referendum that includes the top two choices.

    Any two-option referendum, (PR/FPTP, or RBV/FPTP), is very likely to fail because voters whose choice is excluded from the ballot will either not vote or vote for the status quo believing they'll have the chance to support their preferred system in the future (or out of spite.) (In Canada, we have the added insanity of requiring a 60% threshold for change from our present arbitrary and undemocratic voting system.)


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