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Burlington to explore ranked ballots

Burlington City Council has approved initiating a public consultation process regarding the use of ranked ballots in the 2022 municipal election.

City staff will report back to council with a proposed engagement plan, timeline, and budget before the consultation will take place. Any public consultation must be done by May 2021, as legislated by the Municipal Elections Modernization Act 2016,

Any future decisions about moving forward with a ranked ballot election will be made following the public consultation.

In a ranked ballot system, voters have the option of selecting up to three candidates, ranking them by preference of their first, second, and third choice. The candidate who achieves the threshold of 50 per cent plus one vote is elected. After tabulating the votes, if there is no candidate who meets the 50 per cent plus one threshold, then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The ballots that selected the eliminated candidate as the first choice are now redistributed to the remaining candidates, this time using those voters’ second choice candidate. This process is repeated until a candidate who achieves the 50 per cent plus one threshold is met.

“I look forward to hearing the community’s thoughts on the option of ranked ballots as early as the 2022 election,” said Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “With a ranked ballot system, every vote truly counts. Whoever is elected will have received some measure of support from a majority of voters. This has the potential to increase voter confidence in the representation they have on City Council, and in turn increase voter turnout.” The next municipal election is Monday, Oct. 24, 2022.

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