Ontario is taking steps towards giving municipalities the option of using ranked ballots in future municipal elections.
As outlined in the 2014 mandate letter, the province is reviewing the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 to explore how ranked ballots could be implemented by municipalities across the province. Ranked ballots allow a voter to rank candidates in order of preference instead of voting for a single candidate. The option to use ranked ballots would give municipalities an alternative to the current municipal voting system.
The Municipal Elections Act is reviewed following each municipal election, and in addition to considering ranked ballots, the review will also assess whether the rules about electing municipal leaders are clear and simple and whether the Act reflects how modern campaigns and elections should be run. To that end, the review will evaluate the current effectiveness of rules about campaign financing, third party advertising, enforcement and accessibility in municipal elections.
There are a number of ways that Ontarians can provide their input including, online and by mail. At the same time, a working group made up of municipal clerks, municipal representatives and ranked ballot advocates will provide the government with advice on how to make ranked ballots work best in Ontario.
Allowing more choice in municipal elections is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic and innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
“Municipalities should have more choices in how to run their elections, including the option of using ranked ballots to elect their mayors and councillors. We are looking for Ontarians’ views on how well municipal elections work and how they can be improved.”
— Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
“Our communities have grown increasingly diverse, and our local electoral system should embrace that diversity. Ranked ballots can offer more opportunities for young and diverse candidates to represent us at city hall”
— Mitzie Hunter, MPP Scarborough-Guildwood
"This is truly an historic moment for Ontario. Ranked ballots make local elections more fair, diverse, inclusive and friendly. I applaud the Province’s efforts to give municipalities the option of using ranked ballots."
— Dave Meslin, Unlock Democracy
§ Public comments will be accepted until July 27, 2015.
§ No Canadian jurisdiction currently uses ranked ballots.
§ There are 444 municipalities in Ontario.
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