The Province is now inviting comments on its far-reaching proposal to allow municipalities to change from first-past-the-post to the ranked ballot in time for the next round of elections in 2018.

I am very much in favour and I hope Newmarket Council will find time to stir itself and take a view on this hugely significant change by 27 July 2015 when the consultation period closes.

A change in the voting system could alter the make up of our Council, making it more difficult for polarizing figures to get elected. The Toronto Star is an enthusiastic champion for change, claiming it would also encourage greater diversity.

Changing the voting system is such a big thing it should be sanctioned by the voters themselves in a local referendum. It may well be argued that having a threshold higher than 50% plus 1 would give the decision permanence and greater legitimacy. Certainly, a 51%-49% vote would be unstable, fuelling demands for a re-run.

You can read the Consultation Booklet here. And the material on the ranked ballot from the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs, here.

The Province wants to know:

1. What are your thoughts on using ranked ballots for Ontario municipal elections?

2. Should municipalities be able to use ranked ballots for certain offices and not others? For example, only for mayor?

3. Should public consultation by a municipality be required before implementing ranked ballots or before changing from ranked ballots back to the current system?

4. What form should that consultation take?

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