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Toronto mayoral candidates: Where do they stand on ranked balloting?

Many Big Ideas readers think the city’s electoral system needs an overhaul. A ranked ballot system, for example, would make municipal elections less polarizing and produce a more accurate picture of what voters want.

In ranked-ballot voting, a candidate must secure a majority and wins if he or she has the most first-place votes; if the vote does not produce a true majority, an instant run-off would determine the winner. Currently, the “first past the post” system dictates the candidate with the highest number of votes wins.

Reforming municipal elections is a Big Idea submitted by our readers that has been voted into the Top 20, from 1,000 ideas. We asked the leading mayoral candidates if they would back this change to balloting.

Question: Would you petition the province to amend Toronto’s Municipal Elections Act to instate a ranked ballot system?

Olivia Chow

Position: Yes

I’ve been a longtime advocate of democratic reform, and we should. I’d also petition the province and federal governments to change their voting systems, too.

David Soknacki

Position: Yes

As outlined in my policy paper on governance, ranked balloting is a system that encourages candidates to build consensus, rewarding those who work to unite. Success will come to candidates with broad appeal. By being able to select candidates in preferential order, voters can select who they wish, without voting strategically.

John Tory

Position: No

Both the city and the province are examining electoral reforms and I look forward to seeing the results of those studies. While I am in favour of examining ways to improve civic engagement I wouldn’t pre-empt that process.

Rob Ford

Torstar News Service did not receive a response this week from Ford’s campaign.

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