Closing the democratic divide with ranked ballots

Opinion Jun 11, 2015 Ancaster News

There is an old adage that if a customer isn’t getting what they want from a business, they vote with their feet and take their business elsewhere.

It would seem that Ontario and Hamilton voters are doing the same thing when it comes to casting a ballot for their politicians.

You can’t blame them. In the 2014 Ontario election, with just 39 per cent of the popular vote, the Liberals’ Kathleen Wynne scored 58 out of 107 seats for a surprising majority.

In Hamilton, even with a competitive mayoral race, the voter turnout was only 34 per cent, about six percentage points lower than in 2010, when Bob Bratina won his surprising victory over incumbent Fred Eisenberger and former mayor Larry Di Ianni.

In the aftermath of each election, pundits have blamed citizens for not exercising their democratic duty at the ballot box. But blaming the victim is an easy out.

Why should a frustrated populace participate in a system where they believe the system is biased in favour of the incumbent and doesn’t reflect their democratic beliefs? The average citizen long ago gave up voting because “my vote doesn’t count” or it has been hijacked by partisan groups.

So it was with some enthusiasm that the Liberals recently announced that in the 2018 election municipalities will have the capability to use a ranked balloting system for the mayor and council.

The system, also called an “instant runoff,” will see a candidate winning based on the majority of voters. The idea under a ranked ballot system is that candidates will need to reach out to more people if they want to win. The electorate, meanwhile, will see their votes count as people can either vote strategically, or based on their beliefs.

The Liberals are also proposing to align Ontario’s boundaries with the new federal ridings to properly reflect the population shifts that have been occurring, move the fixed election date from fall to spring in 2018 to avoid municipal and possible federal elections, allow for registration for 16 and 17 year olds, while still keeping the voting age at 18, and provide stricter rules on third-party advertising (which jumping from $1.6 million in 2007 to $9 million in 2014).

One area that the Liberals ignored was the promise of online voting that some election proponents say could increase voter turnout. While security concerns remain an issue, surely if people can bank online, why can’t they vote for their preferred candidate on their iPhone? It’s a leap in technology and faith that could finally shake up Ontario’s democratic status quo.

Closing the democratic divide with ranked ballots

Opinion Jun 11, 2015 Ancaster News

There is an old adage that if a customer isn’t getting what they want from a business, they vote with their feet and take their business elsewhere.

It would seem that Ontario and Hamilton voters are doing the same thing when it comes to casting a ballot for their politicians.

You can’t blame them. In the 2014 Ontario election, with just 39 per cent of the popular vote, the Liberals’ Kathleen Wynne scored 58 out of 107 seats for a surprising majority.

In Hamilton, even with a competitive mayoral race, the voter turnout was only 34 per cent, about six percentage points lower than in 2010, when Bob Bratina won his surprising victory over incumbent Fred Eisenberger and former mayor Larry Di Ianni.

Related Content

In the aftermath of each election, pundits have blamed citizens for not exercising their democratic duty at the ballot box. But blaming the victim is an easy out.

Why should a frustrated populace participate in a system where they believe the system is biased in favour of the incumbent and doesn’t reflect their democratic beliefs? The average citizen long ago gave up voting because “my vote doesn’t count” or it has been hijacked by partisan groups.

So it was with some enthusiasm that the Liberals recently announced that in the 2018 election municipalities will have the capability to use a ranked balloting system for the mayor and council.

The system, also called an “instant runoff,” will see a candidate winning based on the majority of voters. The idea under a ranked ballot system is that candidates will need to reach out to more people if they want to win. The electorate, meanwhile, will see their votes count as people can either vote strategically, or based on their beliefs.

The Liberals are also proposing to align Ontario’s boundaries with the new federal ridings to properly reflect the population shifts that have been occurring, move the fixed election date from fall to spring in 2018 to avoid municipal and possible federal elections, allow for registration for 16 and 17 year olds, while still keeping the voting age at 18, and provide stricter rules on third-party advertising (which jumping from $1.6 million in 2007 to $9 million in 2014).

One area that the Liberals ignored was the promise of online voting that some election proponents say could increase voter turnout. While security concerns remain an issue, surely if people can bank online, why can’t they vote for their preferred candidate on their iPhone? It’s a leap in technology and faith that could finally shake up Ontario’s democratic status quo.

Closing the democratic divide with ranked ballots

Opinion Jun 11, 2015 Ancaster News

There is an old adage that if a customer isn’t getting what they want from a business, they vote with their feet and take their business elsewhere.

It would seem that Ontario and Hamilton voters are doing the same thing when it comes to casting a ballot for their politicians.

You can’t blame them. In the 2014 Ontario election, with just 39 per cent of the popular vote, the Liberals’ Kathleen Wynne scored 58 out of 107 seats for a surprising majority.

In Hamilton, even with a competitive mayoral race, the voter turnout was only 34 per cent, about six percentage points lower than in 2010, when Bob Bratina won his surprising victory over incumbent Fred Eisenberger and former mayor Larry Di Ianni.

Related Content

In the aftermath of each election, pundits have blamed citizens for not exercising their democratic duty at the ballot box. But blaming the victim is an easy out.

Why should a frustrated populace participate in a system where they believe the system is biased in favour of the incumbent and doesn’t reflect their democratic beliefs? The average citizen long ago gave up voting because “my vote doesn’t count” or it has been hijacked by partisan groups.

So it was with some enthusiasm that the Liberals recently announced that in the 2018 election municipalities will have the capability to use a ranked balloting system for the mayor and council.

The system, also called an “instant runoff,” will see a candidate winning based on the majority of voters. The idea under a ranked ballot system is that candidates will need to reach out to more people if they want to win. The electorate, meanwhile, will see their votes count as people can either vote strategically, or based on their beliefs.

The Liberals are also proposing to align Ontario’s boundaries with the new federal ridings to properly reflect the population shifts that have been occurring, move the fixed election date from fall to spring in 2018 to avoid municipal and possible federal elections, allow for registration for 16 and 17 year olds, while still keeping the voting age at 18, and provide stricter rules on third-party advertising (which jumping from $1.6 million in 2007 to $9 million in 2014).

One area that the Liberals ignored was the promise of online voting that some election proponents say could increase voter turnout. While security concerns remain an issue, surely if people can bank online, why can’t they vote for their preferred candidate on their iPhone? It’s a leap in technology and faith that could finally shake up Ontario’s democratic status quo.