See what preferential voting gets you?

Will they ever learn? The Ontario conservatives used preferential voting in their recent leadership race. Yes, they were rushed and used the same foolish system that gave them Patrick Brown as leader two years before. They used a system that fails to produce a leader. They end up with the lowest common denominator. And those people think they should form a government?

Political parties have been using computers to manage membership lists for more than 30 years. Elections Canada and provincial counterparts have become proficient in producing voters lists for electoral districts and for candidates. Political parties have embraced this capability and have little trouble using these extensive lists for distributing information to electoral districts and asking their members and supporters for money.

It was typical that the first e-mail sent to Ontario Tories by the party after the Saturday fiasco was, in effect, “Doug Ford won, send money.”

Like their federal counterparts last year, the provincial conservatives major mistake was to use preferential balloting. In both cases, the party let the losers be the choosers and regretted the result.

The problem with preferential voting is that the voters are concentrating on voting for their preferred candidate. Asking them to make a second and even third and fourth choice at this time is a serious mistake. They have probably given little thought to their second choice and this becomes a quick and not well thought through decision. The greater the number of candidates to select from, the less the thought given. (Only 21 per cent of federal conservative voters made Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer their first choice in last year’s federal leadership race.)

And then the vote counting system only counts the next choice available on the ballot cast originally for losing candidates. Unlike a run-off election, voters are not given the opportunity to re-evaluate their first ballot. (Candidates who receive the most votes in the first round of a run-off election do not always win the final vote.)

The Ontario conservatives added to the confusion in their counting when they tried to make each electoral district equal. The truth is that they are not all equal. To penalize the districts with the largest and most aggressive party memberships is not only a serious mistake but provides inadequate leadership and little opportunity to those members elected by these successful electoral districts. And it is not even democratic.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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