At the request of Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee and council’s government management committee, city elections officials are now studying a proposal to switch to a ranked ballot system. Councillor Paul Ainslie, the government management chair and a Ford ally, said he plans to bring the proposal to the council floor in November.
The ranked ballot system typically works as follows. Instead of choosing a single candidate, as they do now, voters are free to rank candidates in the order they prefer them. (A “1” for their favourite, a “2” for their second favourite, “3” for their third.) If a candidate gets a majority of first-place votes — more than 50 per cent — the election is over.
But if no candidate gets a majority of first-place votes — say, if the most popular candidate has 35 per cent — the least popular candidate is eliminated, and the second-place votes of that candidate’s supporters are added to the totals of the candidates who remain. This process of elimination and addition, known as an instant runoff, continues until someone has a majority.