Voters can have their say on ranked ballot system

By  | September 9, 2017 | 7 Comments | Filed under: THE DANGERS OF ELECTRONIC VOTING
News07:00 PMby Ray Martin Cambridge Times
Ballot box

– file photo

City officials will hold an information session about ranked balloting this Wednesday (Sept. 13), in an effort to gauge public interest for a possible referendum on next year’s ballot.

Throughout most of Canada, the first-past-the-post system is in place, where the candidate receiving the most votes wins. Municipalities in Ontario are now being asked if they would like to make a change to a ranked ballot system alternative.

“This is the first time it’s been offered, and few people know what it is,” said city clerk Michael Di Lullo.

With ranked ballots, rather than just choosing one candidate, voters rank the candidates according to their preference (first, second, third, etc.). The votes are counted and if one candidate receives a majority, they win. If there is no majority, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated; votes cast in favour of that person are reallocated the voters’ second choice.

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This continues until one candidate achieves a majority.

A ranked ballot system has been approved for the 2018 municipal election in London, Ont. Cambridge city council voted against using ranked ballots during the next election, but left the door open for a possible referendum on the issue.

There are benefits and drawbacks to the ranked ballot system, according to the city’s information webpage.

The claimed benefits include having no candidate win without a 50 per cent majority. It eliminates strategic voting and no vote is wasted. It encourages candidates to broaden their appeal to voters to gain their support.

Among the claimed drawbacks is the change to the current system of voting. It makes it more difficult for an underdog candidate to win, and ranked ballot voting doesn’t always reflect the popular vote, as a candidate might not always be the voters’ top choice.

“I think understanding is key,” said Di Lullo.

The session starts at 6 p.m. in the Bowman Room of Cambridge city hall, 50 Dickson St.

Although it can’t be applied during the upcoming municipal election, Di Lullo said the turnout at the meeting would give city officials and council an indication of the public’s appetite for change in the voting system.

Last week, a similar public meeting was held and Di Lullo said just as few people turned out. Following this week’s meeting the clerk will prepare a report for council and then it can decide if it wants to move forward with a referendum on the 2018 ballot.

For more information on ranked-ballot voting, visit



7 Responses to Voters can have their say on ranked ballot system

    rk September 11, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Please come out and have your say, get informed and let this COUNCIL know that residents of this CITY truly care WHO their COUNCILLOR is and WHO can DOE THE BEST JOB FOR THEM!!
    DRAIN THE SWAMP IN 2018!!!!!!!

    rk September 13, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Well the turn out for the information session on this issue was disappointing. Not sure how many turned out for the session on September 6 but there were only 14 present for the session on September 13.
    I found it very interesting that even though this could be put on the ballot as a referendum in the 2018 election, in the end if the 2018 Council do not want ‘ranked’ voting in 2022 they can pass a motion not to implement it.
    SO in the end…what is the purpose of the referendum in the 1st place…COUNCIL DOES NOT LISTEN TO THE ELECTORATE ANYWAY

    Caribou September 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I find it so interesting that this City DOES NOT WANT RANKED BALLOTS!!! I guess we do not move forward like the City of London. The excuse that is being used is that we have a two tier government system….And why does that pose a problem???? The way I see it you do RANKED voting for our City Council and the standard voting for Regional Council….so what…oh wait a minute THAT MIGHT BE TOO COMPLICATED….BUT HEY INTERNET VOTING IS FINE!!! I sure think this City has it head stuck so far in the sand it will never get out!!!!

    CITIZEN FOR CHANGE AT THE TOP September 20, 2017 at 8:05 am

    We also need our say as to how many terms a Mayor can serve on City Council…TWO TERMS MAX AND OUT…THREE TERMS MAX FOR COUNCILLORS…that would get the OLD BLOOD out and new blood in and maybe even allow things to get done properly…Might even finally get a FUNCTIONAL COUNCIL instead of the DYSFUNCTION WE HAVE AT CITY HALL NOW!!! Think about it people…and tell us your thoughts on this idea

    poperingo September 20, 2017 at 8:25 am

    4 of 8 councillors in the 2014 elections were new, that is 50% turnover. I think that is new blood.

    Gladys Smith September 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Ben Tucci decided not to run or he would have been Elected once again
    Karl Kiefer left his seat and ran for the Region or he would have been elected again

    poperingo September 20, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    And your point is? I was commenting on how we had 4 new councillors, why we had 4 new is not the point. Sheesh

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