Ranked ballots option to be allowed in municipal polls

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Ontario on Tuesday passed legislation to give municipalities the option of using ranked ballots in future municipal elections, beginning in 2018.

Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said in Toronto: “We listened to the calls from voters to ensure that rules for municipal elections reflect the real and evolving needs of our communities. The Municipal Elections Modernization Act clarifies the rules and will allow municipalities to consider the option of using ranked ballots. ”

The Municipal Elections Modernization Act, 2016 reforms the Municipal Elections Act. It will increase transparency and accountability by:

  • Making campaign finance rules clearer and easier to follow for voters, candidates and contributors
  • Banning corporate and union contributions to candidates
  • Creating a framework to regulate third-party advertising, including contribution and spending limits, and to define third-party advertising as advertisements supporting or opposing a candidate
  • Shortening the length of campaigns by opening nominations for candidates on May 1instead of January 1
  • Requiring the municipal clerk to prepare a plan regarding the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that could affect electors and candidates with disabilities
  • Making it easier to add or change certain information on the voters’ list.
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No Canadian jurisdiction currently uses ranked ballots.

A public review of the Municipal Elections Act took place between May 2015 and July 2015. The Municipal Elections Modernization Act, 2016 is based on input from across Ontario, including more than 3,400 submissions from the public, municipal councils and staff.

In a ranked ballot election, there may be multiple rounds of counting before a candidate is declared the winner. Single-member ranked ballot elections use a system called Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). Multi-member ranked ballot elections use a system called Single Transferrable Vote (STV).

There are 444 municipalities in Ontario. – CINEWS

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