It won’t help decide the heated race in the upcoming Toronto election — but it could in 2018. The Ontario Liberals are making good on a campaign promise to give municipalities some new tools to supposedly enhance local democracy. A spokesperson for Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin confirms that the Kathleen Wynne government will amend current legislation to give city governments the option of ranked ballots in future elections. “As the Premier indicated in our ministry’s mandate letter, in the course of reviewing the Municipal Elections Act, we will provide municipalities with the option of using ranked ballots in future elections as an alternative to the first-past-the-post system, starting in 2018,” Mark Cripps told Yahoo Canada News. “This work will get underway following the elections on October 27.”
A ranked ballot voting system — also known as Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) and preferential voting — allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference on their electoral ballots. If a candidate fails to earn at least 50 per cent of the vote after the first ballot, then voters’ second and third choices are tabulated until a candidate reaches a majority.
Last year, Toronto city council voted in favour of such a system and had asked Queen’s Park for its legislative blessing.