DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Council is expected to make a decision on whether or not to change the current voting system, for the 2018 municipal election, at a meeting next week.
On Monday, January 16th, at a meeting scheduled for 10 a.m., Councillors are expecting to see a report with a recommendation from the clerk’s department on whether the Township should move forward with the first-past-the-post system, or if they should adopt a ranked ballot system.
At a meeting held on Monday, January 9th, deputy clerk Michael de Rond made a presentation to Councillors on how ranked balloting would work.
Under the ranked ballot system, the voter ranks the list of candidates in order of preference, from first to last. The results are tallied up, and if no candidate receives the required 50 per cent plus one of the vote to win, the person with the lowest votes is eliminated. All of the voters who ranked that candidate first will then have their votes redistributed to their second choice. The process continues until one candidate has over 50 per cent of the vote.
Mr. de Rond told Councillors that if they chose ranked balloting, they would then need to hold a public meeting as well as an open house, to inform the public and to hear any concerns. At the end of his presentation, he gave a hint as to which method the clerk’s department may be leaning towards.
“At this point, it’s tough to really get behind something like this, that is so fundamentally different, when we have nothing to work off of in terms of examples and case studies, as well as the possibility of legal challenges,” Mr. de Rond said.
Ward 1 Councillor Pam Beach said going with a ranked balloting system would confuse voters.
“A great concern that I have about this is that people can’t even wrap their heads around mail in ballots, which has been in effect for the last four elections,” she said.
Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy said his concern with the system is that voters would be asked to rank candidates for multiple positions, including for the resident’s ward councillor, their regional councillor, for regional chair and for mayor.
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