With our current system, voters choose one candidate on their ballot for each position available (Mayor, Councillor & School Trustee). On election day, the votes are added up and whoever has the most votes is the winner. This system allows someone to ‘win’ the election even they only have 29% of the vote, as was the case in Ward 9 in the 2010 Municipal Election.
Ranked ballots ensures majority support because the winning candidate must have more than 50% of the vote.
There are other advantages to adding choice to voters in the form of a ranked ballot:
- Eliminates vote splitting
Under our current system, headlines are dominated by stories about who is stealing votes from who, etc. With runoff voting, there is no such thing as vote splitting.
- Reduces strategic voting
Under our current system, voters are often told to vote “strategically”. With a ranked ballots you don’t vote against something, you vote for something.
- Discourages negative campaigning
Under our current system, candidates often attack each other, throwing insults and accusations in an effort to discredit their opponents. With runoff voting, these tactics work against you. To win a runoff, you have to appeal to a larger audience – including your opponents’ supporters, in the hope that they might rank you second. This means more positive debates, and a more respectful discussion.
- Provides more choice for voters
Under our current system, candidates are often pressured to drop out of the race to avoid vote-splitting. Most of this happens months before the election, as potential candidates are discouraged from entering the race. This happens frequently with young eager candidates being asked not to run by their more experienced colleagues. This is the exact opposite experience we want young candidates to have. With runoff voting, new voices would be welcomed and encouraged. This would lead to more choice, more voices, more engagement, and more diversity.
Ranked Ballot systems are used by :
- All the Canada’s political parties to choose their leaders
- A growing number of cities in the United States and around the world
- The Academy Awards to select its Best Picture Oscar winner
- National Hockey League to choose its Hart, Norris, Calder, Lady Byng, Selke, Vezina and Jack Adams award winners every year – with points awarded based on where each player has been ranked
- The Canadian Press for picking its leading Canadian athletes every year including male and female athletes of the year and team of the year.