Ontario’s ranked ballot system will “confuse” Hamilton voters, says manager of elections

News Jun 08, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s manager of elections says he isn’t convinced preferential balloting will improve Ontario’s municipal election process.

Tony Fallis told members of the governance review sub-committee June 8 that the provincial government’s announcement that it will amend the Municipal Elections Act and allow municipalities to use ranked balloting in the 2018 municipal election will cause confusion among electors. He said while the mayor and council will use the preferential balloting system, school trustees will continue to use the current first-past-the-post system.

“It will confuse the electorate,” said Fallis.

Still, Ward 3 councillor Matthew Green says reforming the municipal election process is a “fantastic opportunity” to improve how people vote and expand the democratic process.

He said the public has been talking about creating a more democratic election system across the province, especially as voter turnout continues to decline, including in Hamilton. The last few elections has seen voter turnout in the 30 per cent range.

“This is not a silver bullet,” said Green. “But we need to open a conversation across the city. This merits public engagement.”

In last fall’s municipal election Green came out on top in a 15-candidate field, receiving 2,852 votes, or 40.7 per cent of the ballots from the 7,113 electors who voted.

Under a ranked ballot system people make selections among the candidates. They identify their preferred candidate, and then rank their second-best candidate, and so on instead of putting a check mark beside one candidate.

If no candidate receives 50 per cent of the number one votes, an instant run-off is held. The last place candidate drops off and their second choice votes are allocated to the remaining candidates. The process continues until one person receives a majority of the votes.

Proponents argue a ranked ballot system is more democratic and curbs vote splitting.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said in a recent interview he would be willing to change Hamilton’s voting system.

He said residents have become “turned off” by the political system, believing they don’t have a choice. A preferential voting system, said Eisenberger, may encourage more people to vote since each ballot will count.

 Eisenberger says the first-past-the-post option gives the impression that incumbents benefit from the system.

Fallis said he will be presenting a report on the 2014 municipal election at the July 6 general issues committee meeting.

The province is also reviewing the Municipal Elections Act involving campaign financing, third-party advertising, enforcement and accessibility in municipal elections.

The province has convened a working group of municipal representatives and proponents of rank ballots to provide information on how best to implement the system.

The public has until July 27 to provide its view to the province on changing the voting system.  Fallis said Hamilton residents can provide their comments to the province through the city’s website.

Ontario’s ranked ballot system will “confuse” Hamilton voters, says manager of elections

News Jun 08, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s manager of elections says he isn’t convinced preferential balloting will improve Ontario’s municipal election process.

Tony Fallis told members of the governance review sub-committee June 8 that the provincial government’s announcement that it will amend the Municipal Elections Act and allow municipalities to use ranked balloting in the 2018 municipal election will cause confusion among electors. He said while the mayor and council will use the preferential balloting system, school trustees will continue to use the current first-past-the-post system.

“It will confuse the electorate,” said Fallis.

Still, Ward 3 councillor Matthew Green says reforming the municipal election process is a “fantastic opportunity” to improve how people vote and expand the democratic process.

He said the public has been talking about creating a more democratic election system across the province, especially as voter turnout continues to decline, including in Hamilton. The last few elections has seen voter turnout in the 30 per cent range.

“This is not a silver bullet,” said Green. “But we need to open a conversation across the city. This merits public engagement.”

In last fall’s municipal election Green came out on top in a 15-candidate field, receiving 2,852 votes, or 40.7 per cent of the ballots from the 7,113 electors who voted.

Under a ranked ballot system people make selections among the candidates. They identify their preferred candidate, and then rank their second-best candidate, and so on instead of putting a check mark beside one candidate.

If no candidate receives 50 per cent of the number one votes, an instant run-off is held. The last place candidate drops off and their second choice votes are allocated to the remaining candidates. The process continues until one person receives a majority of the votes.

Proponents argue a ranked ballot system is more democratic and curbs vote splitting.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said in a recent interview he would be willing to change Hamilton’s voting system.

He said residents have become “turned off” by the political system, believing they don’t have a choice. A preferential voting system, said Eisenberger, may encourage more people to vote since each ballot will count.

 Eisenberger says the first-past-the-post option gives the impression that incumbents benefit from the system.

Fallis said he will be presenting a report on the 2014 municipal election at the July 6 general issues committee meeting.

The province is also reviewing the Municipal Elections Act involving campaign financing, third-party advertising, enforcement and accessibility in municipal elections.

The province has convened a working group of municipal representatives and proponents of rank ballots to provide information on how best to implement the system.

The public has until July 27 to provide its view to the province on changing the voting system.  Fallis said Hamilton residents can provide their comments to the province through the city’s website.

Ontario’s ranked ballot system will “confuse” Hamilton voters, says manager of elections

News Jun 08, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s manager of elections says he isn’t convinced preferential balloting will improve Ontario’s municipal election process.

Tony Fallis told members of the governance review sub-committee June 8 that the provincial government’s announcement that it will amend the Municipal Elections Act and allow municipalities to use ranked balloting in the 2018 municipal election will cause confusion among electors. He said while the mayor and council will use the preferential balloting system, school trustees will continue to use the current first-past-the-post system.

“It will confuse the electorate,” said Fallis.

Still, Ward 3 councillor Matthew Green says reforming the municipal election process is a “fantastic opportunity” to improve how people vote and expand the democratic process.

He said the public has been talking about creating a more democratic election system across the province, especially as voter turnout continues to decline, including in Hamilton. The last few elections has seen voter turnout in the 30 per cent range.

“This is not a silver bullet,” said Green. “But we need to open a conversation across the city. This merits public engagement.”

In last fall’s municipal election Green came out on top in a 15-candidate field, receiving 2,852 votes, or 40.7 per cent of the ballots from the 7,113 electors who voted.

Under a ranked ballot system people make selections among the candidates. They identify their preferred candidate, and then rank their second-best candidate, and so on instead of putting a check mark beside one candidate.

If no candidate receives 50 per cent of the number one votes, an instant run-off is held. The last place candidate drops off and their second choice votes are allocated to the remaining candidates. The process continues until one person receives a majority of the votes.

Proponents argue a ranked ballot system is more democratic and curbs vote splitting.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said in a recent interview he would be willing to change Hamilton’s voting system.

He said residents have become “turned off” by the political system, believing they don’t have a choice. A preferential voting system, said Eisenberger, may encourage more people to vote since each ballot will count.

 Eisenberger says the first-past-the-post option gives the impression that incumbents benefit from the system.

Fallis said he will be presenting a report on the 2014 municipal election at the July 6 general issues committee meeting.

The province is also reviewing the Municipal Elections Act involving campaign financing, third-party advertising, enforcement and accessibility in municipal elections.

The province has convened a working group of municipal representatives and proponents of rank ballots to provide information on how best to implement the system.

The public has until July 27 to provide its view to the province on changing the voting system.  Fallis said Hamilton residents can provide their comments to the province through the city’s website.