07/30/2012 01:04 EDT | Updated 09/29/2012 05:12 EDT

Proposal Would Change Toronto Elections


A Toronto city councillor is proposing a new way of electing city representatives starting in 2018.

Coun. Paul Ainslie is pushing a plan known as the ranked ballot system.

Under the new system, for example, voters are asked to pick their first, second and third choices.

If a candidate fails to get an outright 50 per cent of the vote, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is dropped off the ballot. The second choice of those who voted for the dropped candidate are then redistributed.

If there is still no candidate with more than 50 per cent, the system continues until there is a winner.

Dave Meslin, director of the advocacy group Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto, says ranked ballots help avoid vote splitting and strategic voting.

"It's a more exciting and vibrant and diverse way to have an election — and of course, more importantly, you end up with some most people actually want. Under the current system you can win your election with as little as 17 per cent," said Meslin.

The new system will have to be approved by city council as well as the province. The proposal is likely to be brought to council's government management committee in the fall.

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