The province of Ontario recently gave municipal and city councils the ability to reform their voting system. Thanks to Bill 181, municipalities now have the option of using ranked ballot for their local elections. It shouldn’t come as a total surprise that there has been resistance to change. A lot of status quo politicians out there don’t want to change a voting system (First Past The Post) that has benefitted them greatly.
The main arguments I’ve seen so far they’re giving for not wanting to change that system though is a rather silly one: its too hard for our voters!
Brampton council voted 11-0 against the idea…Brampton councillors who responded to the Star said they voted against ranked balloting because voters might find the system too confusing.
That appears to be the rallying cry for anti-reformers everywhere.. as we have another example of that right here in Brant County:
Brant County councillors appear not eager to embrace voting changes introduced by Queen’s Park…Brant’s municipal elections review committee, made up of Mayor Ron Eddy and councillors Joan Gatward, John Peirce and Shirley Simons, is backing a a staff recommendation to keep the current voting system for at least the 2018 municipal election instead of moving to ranked ballot voting.,,Gatward, who chairs the elections review committee, thinks Brant voters would not be receptive to a new system that they would find complicated.
So apparently ranked ballot is too complicated.. yet in both of these articles, the Toronto Star and the Brant News explain in a couple of sentences how this electoral system works:
(Ranked Ballot) works by allowing voters to rank at least three top candidates (cities can opt to allow more candidates to be ranked on each ballot). The candidate who receives the least first place votes is eliminated in each round and their votes are redistributed until one candidate has a majority.
That sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? How did the Brant News explain Ranked Ballot to its readers?
Under ranked balloting, voters pick candidates in order of preference (potentially first, second and third). The candidate with the most votes — 50 per cent plus one — wins, just as in the current system. However, if nobody meets that threshold, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is knocked out. The second-place choices of that candidate’s supporters are added to the totals of the remaining challengers until someone has a majority.
Apparently, some municipal politicians don’t expect their voters to know how to put “1” “2” “3” beside a name on their ballot. Its an insult to the voters intelligence and quite frankly, an excuse for them to try and maintain the status quo.