Why I support ranked ballots

If my math is correct, I need about 700 votes to win the city council seat in Lakeside. The voter list is not yet available as of this writing, but in the last municipal election there were 7,988 registered voters in Lakeside, and about half of them voted. There are six candidates running here, so 700 votes would be a comfortable enough margin to avoid recounts and any additional complications.

So, I could potentially represent my neighbours with support from less than 10% of the electorate. That’s pretty low, and a very long way away from a majority! But this is how our system works. In the last few elections, Lakeside has had four candidates, and none of the eventual councillors won with anywhere near a majority of the votes.

 

This is why I’m supporting Yes Kingston in the referendum on ranked ballots on October 22. This system is designed to give the electorate more influence, and the eventual victor can expect to win with something much closer to majority support.

I have heard arguments from the ‘No’ side that in certain cases, where the ranked ballot system needs to go through multiple rounds until a majority is decided, it could add increased costs to an election. I think that, within reason, taking more time (and the expense that comes with it) is worth it to get a more representative result.

To me, the benefits of the ‘Yes’ argument win here if based on nothing else but the math in Lakeside alone. I’m not yet convinced that ranked ballots is the perfect system, but it will be much better than our current system, and one worth implementing for the 2022 municipal elections.

 

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