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City of Ottawa one step closer to more fair and friendly elections

_ (press release) _

Ottawa residents could soon have the opportunity to make their city elections more fair and friendly.

 On Monday



, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ted McMeekin, will introduce legislation allowing cities to change their voting system to Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) also known as Ranked Ballots.  Local advocacy group, Ottawa123, have long called for changes to the Municipal Elections Act to allow cities in Ontario to make the switch.   The move followed a summer of public consultations, during which the provincial government heard from Ontarians across the province about ways to make our city election processes more accessible and effective.

“This small, simple change to Ottawa’s local elections could have a significant impact in increasing voter turnout and focusing campaigns on issues rather than mudslinging,” says Colum Grove-White, spokesperson for Ottawa123.  Ranked ballots allows voters to rank electoral candidates, in order of preference.  To see a full explanation of how the system works, click here .

Ranked Choice Voting ensures that a candidate must win with over 50 per cent of the vote, eliminating vote splitting and strategic voting which are hallmarks of the first-past-the-post electoral system.  Because candidates will be vying for their opponents’ supporters second choice votes, elections would take on a more friendly tone which focuses the debate on issues rather than negative campaigning.  In 2014, nine councillors were elected with less than 50 per cent of the vote.

Ottawa123 is a non-partisan group of volunteers asking Ottawa City Council to change the current First-Past-the-Post voting system to a Ranked Choice Voting.  A growing number of city councillors support it, and over 2000 have signed the petition online .