Ranked Ballots – My Opinion

 

In addition to electing city councillors, regional councillors, school board trustees and the mayor, this October you also have the opportunity to answer a question on the ballot: “Are you in favour of the City of Cambridge using a ranked ballot voting system for the 2022 municipal election?”

I will be voting Yes and I encourage you to do the same.

Put simply, I believe Ranked Ballots are an IMPROVEMENT over the current system we used to elect our public leaders,

Ranked Ballots allow the voter to indicate a 2nd, 3rd (or more) choice, after their 1st choice.

This ONE change has an immediate positive impact on the voting system:

  1. Candidates will campaign in a more cordial, civilized manner as being a 2nd or 3rd choice will benefit candidates.
  2. Candidates will benefit from earning support from larger parts of the community and therefore will better reflect the values and wishes of the community they aim to represent.
  3. Voters can continue to pick their preferred candidate, while also having a say on who is elected if their first choice is not elected. (IMPORTANT: The 2nd, 3rd choices a voters makes has NO impact on their candidates chances. The 2nd, 3rd choices a voter makes are ONLY considered IF their candidate is eliminated.
  4. Voter interest will INCREASE, which will result in HIGHER voter turnout, which will produce a result that is more reflective of the community.

Modifying the current voting system to include Ranked Ballots is not a panacea for how we elect public officials. However it addresses some of the current deficiencies, in particular the LOW VOTER TURNOUT that heavily favors those in power.

In my opinion, Ranked Ballots are a better way for the residents of Cambridge to elect their public officials than the current system.

If I am elected as councillor for Ward 1, Cambridge this fall, I will push for Ranked Ballots in the 2022 municipal election.

With one exception:

Per the motion passed by city council : “The result of a vote on a question binding on the municipality is if at least 50 per cent of eligible electors in the municipality vote on the question and more than 50 per cent of the votes on the question are in favour of the question. In the 2014 election, the City only received approximately 30 per cent voter turnout If the result of the vote on a question is in the affirmative, the municipality shall do everything in its power to implement the results of the question and do so in a timely manner. If the result of the vote on a question is in the negative, the municipality shall not do anything to implement the matter which was the subject of the question for a period of four years following voting day.”

In clear language, unless more than 50% of all eligible voters vote AGAINST Ranked Ballots, I will actively promote Ranked Ballot if elected.

-Kevin Hiebert, @Hiebert4Council