Ranked ballot system for municipal elections

Ranked ballot system for municipal elections
Posted on June 1, 2015 | Alex Cullen | Written on June 1, 2015
Letter type:

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

I am a former municipal politician familiar with Ottawa City Council and how it works. I support a ranked ballot system for municipal elections (assures majority support for the person elected), but am concerned when instituting this democratic reform is an option for City Council. Here's why.

The announcement by the Ontario Government to permit municipal councils to consider instituting a ranked ballot system by the 2018 municipal elections gives the illusion of democratic reform, which will disappoint many. Why? Because the councillors who will vote on this are those who have benefitted from the current first-past-the-post election system: few will be motivated to adopt this proposed change to how they get elected.


Yet this change is necessary if we are to elect councillors by majority vote. In the 2014 municipal elections in Ottawa 15 members of Council won election with 50% of the vote or more, but 9 won election with less. In one case, one candidate (George Darouze in Osgoode Ward) won election with 21.06% of the vote - hardly a mandate. Using the ranked ballot system would assure that whoever was elected received at least 50% plus one of the vote.


The ranked ballot system would assure representation based on majority vote, and should be compulsory, not optional, in Ontario.

About The Author

AlexCullen's picture

Former OBE Trustee (1982-88), Ottawa City Councillor (1991-94), RMOC Councillor (1991-97), MPP Ottawa West (1997-99), Ottawa City Councillor (2000-2010). Economist, former Policy Analyst NHW (1982-91), former... More