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Instant Run-off voting – Toronto considers it.

There is a column in the National Post about the City of Toronto possibly considering a voting reform; implementing Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) or Ranked Balloting as in time for the elections of 2014. If you’re not a voting expert, here’s all you need to know about this system:

Rather than marking a single X on the ballot, voters rank their three favourite politicians in order of preference. At the end of voting day, the first choices of each ballot are added up. If a candidate gets 50% or more of the vote, the election is over and a winner is declared. Otherwise, the candidate with the least votes is dropped off the ballot and their supporters’ second choice is automatically transferred to the remaining candidates. This process of eliminating the last-place candidate continues until one candidate earns at least 50% of the vote.

This voting system would ensure the winning candidate receives 50% + 1 of the vote when winning. It may, as the article suggests, cut down on some of the negative campaigning, when candidates realize they have to appeal to a broader spectrum of voters, rather then their core constituency; you probably wont get as many votes from other candidates voters if you continually call them idiots.

Another extremely important thing in its favor is that it’s simple to explain to voters. If you look provincially, the relative complexity of Proportional Representation and STV and Mixed Member and so on left them easy to attacks from their opponents. Not all may have been accurate, but they were never effectively countered, in the voters eyes at least, and this has led to solid rejections of that model in Canada. As I’ve stated before, IRV has been used by many of the political parties at their own conventions for voting in new leaders, so it’s not an alien system to Canada. Also, implementation of this system in a city or municipal level is slightly different, in that you’d never consider PR or other models for electing a city’s mayor, so it really is the only viable voting reform (in my opinion) that can be offered to municipal voters.

Here’s hoping the City of Toronto Councillors go for it.

2 comments to Instant Run-off voting – Toronto considers it.

  • Fred from BC

    I don’t like it for parliamentary elections, though. It leads to centrist/compromise parties getting disproportionate clout.

    Which is exactly why we need it. It ensures that the fringe parties don’t get in and we get serious, legitimate representation while still being more fair and representative than the FPTP system we have now. No porn stars, yogic flyers or tree-huggers need apply, thanks…

    Mixed Member done well is my favourite there, so I do hope advocates for PR come up with ways to get people to dig it.

    Mixed Member will never be “done well”, sorry. It is inherently flawed and cannot be fixed.

  • I hope so too. It’s my opinion that when you are picking a single person (or a single policy option), as in a mayoral race, this is the most democratic approach.
    I don’t like it for parliamentary elections, though. It leads to centrist/compromise parties getting disproportionate clout. Mixed Member done well is my favourite there, so I do hope advocates for PR come up with ways to get people to dig it.

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