London, Ont., votes to become 1st Canadian city to use ranked ballots

By  | May 4, 2017 | 17 Comments | Filed under: TIME FOR A NEW MAYOR AND 90% of COUNCIL IN 2018

Voters will pick their top choice for candidate and rank other choices

CBC News Posted: May 02, 2017 8:57 AM ETLast Updated: May 02, 2017 11:56 AM ET

London, Ont., has made history as the first Canadian city to decide to move to a ranked ballot for its next municipal election.

A ranked ballot means voters mark their top choice for a candidate, followed by multiple alternatives.

Dave Meslin from Unlock Democracy Canada came to London to sit in council chambers during the historic vote.

“I was really excited and also really jealous,” he said. “I live in Toronto, and our council didn’t have the courage to make this choice.”

Meslin praised the city’s leaders for their “inspirational” decision and said he’s hopeful London is just the first “domino to fall,” with other Canadian cities following suit.

‘In a competitive race, second choices are as important as the first choice.’Coun. Maureen Cassidy

Councillor Maureen Cassidy voted in favour of ranked ballots. She hopes having the option to rank choices will combat voter apathy and low turnout.

“Right now, people might think, ‘My first choice is not going to get elected, or didn’t get elected in the last two elections, so why bother voting,'” she explained. “Now when they see maybe their first choice didn’t get in … their second choice still matters.”

Change will cost city $322.5K

The move to ranked ballots will increase the cost of administering the election by an estimated $322,500, according to a press release from city staff. It said an “extensive voter outreach and education campaign” will be needed to tell  residents about the new system.

Changes to vote-counting software, more ballots, increased training for staff and more staff members at polling stations will be also be required.

Matt Brown

London Mayor Matt Brown, right, voted in favour of using ranked ballots. (Matt Brown/Facebook)

Some critics argue ranked ballots are too complicated for the average voter, but Meslin scoffed at the notion Londoners won’t get the new system, calling it “incredibly insulting.”

On ranked ballots, voters can still pick their preferred choice, just as they’ve been doing for years. But now they also have the option of ranking their top three candidates.

“It’s as easy as one-two-three,” said Meslin.

Replacing first-past-the-post system

During the 2018 municipal election, the city will replace its first-past-the-post system, under which the candidate with the highest number of votes wins.

With an FPTP system, the winner doesn’t have to have an absolute majority — i.e., 50 per cent of the votes. Some voting reform advocates, including Meslin, feel it doesn’t properly represent the desires of the electorate and unfairly favours incumbents.

“The current system … allows people to stay in office for life even if most people vote against them,” he said. “That’s not how democracy is supposed to work.”

ballot box

With a ranked ballot, voters in London will be able to pick their top candidate and rank multiple other options. (CBC)

Cassidy said ranked ballots could have another possible positive — forcing candidates in London to focus on issues rather than personalities.

“If I were in an election and I were to personally attack a competitor, how likely would it be for me that that candidate’s supporters would rank me as their second choice?” she said. “In a competitive race, second choices are as important as the first choice.”

Meslin admits the democratic experiment could get messy, but said his organization will be working with the city to make sure voters understand how the system works.

“There have been so many efforts to change voting across Canada, and this is the first successful effort in our lifetime,” he added.

How ranked voting works

“All votes are counted, and if one candidate does not have at least 50 per cent plus 1 of the votes, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and the ballots are counted again, this time using the next candidate choice from ballots where the first choice candidate was eliminated. The process is repeated until a winning candidate is determined.”

— Source: City of London


Electoral reform: City council votes 9-5 to scrap first-past-the-post voting and make London a Canadian trailblazer

Patrick Maloney

By Patrick Maloney, The London Free Press



17 Responses to London, Ont., votes to become 1st Canadian city to use ranked ballots

    Maggie May 4, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Wow – good for London. Smart move. Too bad our useless Mayor & Council cannot wake up to the fact that Ranked Voting is the way to go.
    London is also looking into a “Go-Train” – again smart people – moving with the times – not stagnant like Cambridge.
    The LRT sucks – we need a Go-train from London to T.O. – wise people. The LRT is useless – and if they put it through Preston – oh boy – what a mess there.
    LONDON – GOOD FOR YOU MAYOR BROWN. Ranked voting is not difficult- I am a Sr. & so easy to follow. And so fair a vote. Cambridge – wake up!!! What are you afraid of Craig & Council?? Would rather spend the money on this than that BRIDGE TO NOWARE & the Old Post Office. RANKED VOTING – the only way to go!

    Tom Vann May 5, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Frank, Doug, Pam, Donner, Mann, and then Dyke would be out on their asses. They know it and are worried. Funny Mann is now concerned about the Preston traffic problem. Where the Hell has he been on the Preston Dam? The old Butler building pollution? Under a rock, that’s where. He can’t even return calls I’m hearing. Oh wait…. let’s hang around Doug for some more photo ops. Hi, I’m Mikey…I want to be a Mayor some day or even your M.P. I still get my 100 grand pension though. Dump the Duds. My new saying for these council duds. NO MORE TEACHERS OR COPS ON COUNCIL. Put in people that don’t feel entitled. Then we can put Dyke out to pasture with a bag of coal.

    Nate Evans May 5, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Time for Cambridge to enter this century on voting with safe and higher % for voters. Sadly the management here is still stone age.

    rk May 5, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    We need RANKED VOTING and we also need to PAPER BALLOTS ONLY!!! We need to make sure that in 2018 we get in COUNCILLORS THAT WILL WORK FOR THE ELECTORATE..NOT VOTE BECAUSE ‘STAFF RECOMMENDS IT’..If you have a COUNCILLOR that says that to the MEDIA….GET RID OF THAT COUNCILLOR IN 2018…He does not Deserve your VOTE…WE also need People to CANVASS for NEW BLOOD on Council…WHO IS WITH ME ON THAT?????

    Tom Vann May 6, 2017 at 6:01 am

    The Gestapo is getting their ducks in a row as we speak. Look for the big push later this month for the college location and another site location to be put into question. There will be a block or rejection coming to the public preferred site on Hespler road, perhaps some building added. My last letter hit a public nerve of common sense against the college. Watch for the “we can’t afford any other site” spew coming out of city hall as well. I see Donner push out another letter and Frank will champion the air waves for the college site. A media push is coming and so is the next election. This is why Dougie is quiet on the not wanting to piss off the public front. Better to get a puppet to dance to protect his re-election push that won’t take place. I see his health dropping off the map. If by some insane chance the college gets the nod, every council member that votes for it should be getting the verbal backlash they deserve on the streets, e-mail, in the next manipulated election, at council and in their home. Watch for brown envelopes to be handed out. I will be firing off a few extra rounds from the 357 in frustration if this happens. Street warriors unite, the sun is setting on freedom.

    rk May 6, 2017 at 7:22 am

    I agree with you Mr. Vann…You opinion is ‘bang’ on

    U May 6, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Yes – we malcontents know exactly what is coming:- 1. McVittie already spouted off about no Taxes if built on City property; 2. Our idiotic Mayor/Council allowed the Pinebush property to go for 1.9 M – really – what idiots!!! 3. Next will be some reason for not using one of the other two choices.
    Therefore, as Mr. Vann said, back to Conestoga – we can already hear the Mayor’s speech about watching the Taxpayer’s dollars – you got to be kidding. What a hypocrite. He made a promise to Tibbetts & not sure why he feels he has to keep it on our MONEY$$$ What an assassin idea – CAMBRIDGE WAKE UP!!!
    I sure wish we had London’s Mayor – smart man – RANKED BALLOTS & looking into a Go-Train from London to Toronto. Gee, why can’t we have a Mayor with such vision like London’s Mayor. We have a dead head! The London Mayor would NEVER consider putting his Complex on someone else’s property & rent it back – NEVER!!

    Chester May 6, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Nate – you got that right.
    Did you know the City let Pinebush property go for 1.9 m but they paid $800,000. for an old bldg. in Galt.
    What on earth is wrong with our Mayor & Councillors?????
    We needed that Pinebush property for the Complex. A PERFECT spot – but we know our stone-age Mayor was behind all this – find a developer – to develop it so we cannot use it for the Complex.
    What a bunch of useless jerks – Mayor & Councillors – STONE-AGE THEY ARE FOR SURE$

    Tom Vann May 7, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Woo hoo. Talked to several people at the reunion and are they pissed at Pammy Woof. The Barrie Lake housing will turn ward 5 into a traffic nightmare, combine that with the Gas Works and the West side traffic will flood Lansdown, Victoria Park area and Park Hill with cars. Then if the college gets the sportsplex Blair road gets swamped. All I told them was you voted this drinker in…live with it. Hic.

    Tom Vann May 8, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Agin, not 1 person I spoke to at the reunion pub gathering voted for Craig. In 2 years I found 4 that did. I repeat…he won’t be able to run again. Cancel Karl running as well. As a fence sitter he has no guarantee. He also voted against Deb and I and that tells you all you need to know about him. I won’t run for mayor but ward 1 looks like a go. Someone listening to the constituents for ward 1 would be a change.

    Chester May 8, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Yes so interesting – I have never been told of ONE person that voted for Craig. So how did he get in???? I guess you & Deb know how – right! I know Craig does a lot for Galt and ignores the rest of us – so thought “those” people voted him in but hardly thing enough. Even Galt people are fed up with him & his followers.
    So time will tell……
    Run in Ward 1 – can’t wait to get rid of the red head – think the colouring is cooking her brain as she can’t do anything on her own – follows orders!
    Go for it.

    rk May 9, 2017 at 8:19 am

    If you run for Ward 1 I will be sure to get the word out…We need some other followers to get the word out as well with regard to replacing the current Councillor with someone who has the electorates needs in mind. We also need to look at other Councillors who like to vote because ‘Staff Recommends’ It…these people need to be replaced because they do not LISTEN to the PEOPLE THAT VOTED FOR THEM….

    Tom Vann May 9, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    The staff recommends to get rid of Dyke. So hop to it puppets. Shit, I saw Frank the other day and he looks terrible. Even though I don’t often like how he votes or acts I hope things get better for him so he can retire. I spoke to an employee that said Doug is not doing well and seems to forget a lot these days. I just think it would be better to tell those I owed I’m retiring today rather than let a position ground me. Has anyone seen my DUMP DOUG posters yet? I have to make up 4 more DUMP…..posters still. I damn near wet my pants laughing while reading the reps from Cambridge in the Region about how they will fight for us on the LRT. Survey says … I better get on side with the election coming up they are saying I would bet. Ya don’t hear shit all term till election time comes near. Next Karl will be kissing Muslims. I can tell you now, we aint gettin’ the LRT to Cambridge. There will be no fed or Province $$$.

    Maggie May 9, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Yes guess the Mayor looks tired from spending our Tax Dollars on dumb things like the Bridge to NOWHERE!!! And promising our Complex to Tibbetts – why why why??? And then letting that property go for 1.9 m – when it IS THE PERFECT SITE FOR COMPLEX – Craig has made so many mistakes & we are stuck with them.
    The LTR through Preston will be a disaster – put it out Maple Grove where los of distruction is going on there. Preston is no answer. Think of all those poor people having to give up their life time of dreams – it can go elsewhere or not at all. Who needs it – we need a GO TRAIN – from London to T.O. For crying out loud Craig & Council – wake up – where are your brains???? $$$$$$

    rk May 10, 2017 at 4:09 am

    This whole thing is a joke..Like the way the Monkeys came out and are rallying to say how they will fight with the residents of Preston on the LRT..did I miss something here???? I didn’t think if fell off the TURNIP TRUCK!!!!
    Now if Regional STAFF RECOMMENDS IT.. will they Vote for it??? I know ONE COUNCILLOR THAT WOULD if he were given the opportunity…AFTER ALL..when ‘STAFF RECOMMENDS IT’ ..he votes for it…NOTHING wrong with that is there????

    Maggie May 12, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Grrrrrr – how come our useless Mayor can find MORE MONEY for the Post Office, but he can’t find enough money to build us a Sports Complex CENTRALLY LOCATED???? We don’t need a big fancy building – but it would be nice to have our streets fixed, some help to the unemployed in Cambridge – he is so lopsided it is not funny anymore. The Hospital could use some assistance – oh, of course, this is a worthy cause, sorry, I forget he only does ME PROJECTS$$$$
    Who do we hate when we are driving on disgustingly broken up streets – you bet – our useless Mayor who can find lots of money for unworthy projects.
    Citizens of Cambridge – hurry up & open up your eyes to the crap going on here$

    Maggie May 21, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I keep reading over the “State of City Address” – a lot of words – but no action. He says we are growing – yes – but only in numbers. We are only growing in numbers – not stature or a City this size & yes, growing, can’t seem to get a Sports Complex built in CENTRAL CAMBRIDGE. Ridiculous – really. Of course, we know our Mayor is only “words” not sincere action – just things to “look at” – like the mega multi dollar Post Office – in Galt and a BRIDGE TO NOWHERE in Galt – it just goes on & on. Preston needs their DAM FIXED FOR YEARS. But guess that doesn’t look good in photos – I mean a Dam that is necessary & a Bridge that will be useless!! Where on earth are the brains of the Councillors? Do they not think for themselves once they hit Council chambers? I mean really – lets have some common sense – get money from private/government sponsors – get this SPORTS COMPLEX build – here in Town! It has definitely all been done wrong – THE CARD BEFORE THE HORSE – the plans are not even right for a COMPLEX CENTRALLY LOCATED IN CAMBRIDGE. Can we not do anything right here in Cambridge??? It all started wrong from the City Hall – scrunched in – ruining the heritage look – and it just continues. Why?? And Craig should have been held accountable for ignoring one of his female Councillors. That’s what the special day was for. But of course – guess who is paying the Integrity Commissioner – you bet – the City via Craig’s control. This City might be growing in numbers, but it sure is not growing in stature. Let’s get with it Craig & Councillors – quit thinking of yourselves & get on with a great City. Maybe look at the London Mayor – Ranked voting – Go-train possibility – good for them – not thinking of themselves – but of the people.
    I am ashamed of our Mayor and his selfish projects. We ride around on horrible streets – people without jobs – our Mall is deteriorating – could use some support – it just goes on and on. Wake up people – election coming. Need new blood for sure. Quit sending cops to citizens homes – I think there they are needed in more serious situations. You are wasting tax dollars money – as usual. And the Security Craig has had a meetings – is a joke – like him.$$$$$$

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