Ontario Regulations on Ranked Municipal Ballots Posted for Public Feedback.

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For those of you interested, and I know there are few municipal government enthusiasts who follow this site, the Ontario government posted its proposed Ontario regulations for municipal election ranked ballots.

Among the highlights, how a municipality much proceed to implement a ranked balloting bylaw:

Before passing a by-law, the municipality must hold an open house to provide the public with information about:
-how elections would be conducted, including a description of vote counting
-estimated costs of conducting the election
-any voting and vote-counting equipment that is being considered for use in the election
-any alternative voting method being considered for use in the election.

The municipality must hold a public meeting to allow the public to speak to council about the proposed by-law. The public meeting must be held at least 15 days after the open house is held.
The by-law must be passed no later than May 1 in the year before the year of the election (e.g. May 1, 2017 for the 2018 election).

And how ballots are to be counted and ranked:

How Rankings will be Interpreted
The voter’s preference will be determined by looking at the rankings given to candidates.
If a voter gives the same candidate more than one ranking, only the highest of those rankings will be considered.
If a voter skips a ranking, the next highest ranking will be considered.
If a voter gives two candidates the highest ranking, so that it is not possible to determine which candidate is the voter’s first preference, the ballot will be rejected.
In any round of counting after the first round, if a ballot is to be transferred, but it is not possible to determine which candidate is the voter’s next preference, the ballot becomes exhausted.
A voter does not have to rank the maximum number of preferences. For example, if a voter only ranks one candidate, that candidate would be the voter’s highest preference. If the ballot is to be transferred in a later round, it would become exhausted because it would not be possible to determine the voter’s next preference.

Elimination of Candidates
Candidates may be eliminated either using single elimination or batch elimination.
The clerk has the authority to decide which elimination method will be used. The same elimination method must be used for all offices, and all rounds of vote counting.
In the single elimination method, the candidate who has the lowest number of votes is eliminated, and those votes are distributed to the remaining candidates according to the next preference shown on each ballot.
In the batch elimination method, all candidates who do not have a mathematical chance of being elected are eliminated at the same time, and those votes are distributed to the remaining candidates according to the next preference shown on each ballot.

Calculation of the Threshold
A candidate must receive a predetermined number of votes for that office in order to be elected. The regulation will set out the mathematical formula for calculating this number for each office to be elected.

There are two regulations “Vote Counting and Reporting Requirements for Ranked Ballot Elections under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996” and “By-law Authority and Consultation Requirement for Ranked Ballot Elections Under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, By-law Authority and Consultation Requirement for Ranked Ballot Elections Under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 “.

The public comment period runs until July 28, 2016.

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