When will politicians learn not to leap into voting reform without at least checking? At a sort-of liberal party meeting today, Ontario liberal party leader Steven Del Duca intends to promise Ontario voting reform—a subject he does not seem to understand.
Like prime minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario’s liberal leader (without a seat in the legislature) is promoting that, if he is elected premier, to use ranked ballots for future Ontario elections. Neither leader has thought much about the subject. This form of voting has been used in municipal elections in cities such as London Ontario and also by the federal conservative party.
What people need to know is that ranked balloting is not the same as an instant run-off election. Nor is it a fairer form of voting. There are lots of variables in ranked balloting. Much depends on the number of candidates, the closeness of the race and the mind-set of the voters.
The best result is when there are few candidates and one of the candidates gets more than 50 per cent of the first votes cast. It is exactly the same as first-past-the-post, you have a winner on the first ballot.
The worst result is when there are many candidates and none of them is a shining star. The worst of the ranking happens when voters think they have to fill in some second, third and fourth, etc., choices. They might not have thought this process through before the balloting. They sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time doodling on their ballot.
Frankly, you should never trust voters to have a fifth, sixth or seventh choice in mind. This is the situation where the series of vote counts are actually dumbing down to the least offensive of the candidates.
All the liberals need to do is look at the end result of the balloting in the last two leadership contests for the federal conservative party. Those were the contests that chose first Andrew Scheer and then Erin O’Toole as leaders of that party.
Would you want results such as those from voting in Ontario?
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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