Local petition launched after province says it will scrap ranked ballot elections
LONDON, ONT. -- There’s some local pushback after the provincial government announced it is moving to end ranked ballots for municipal elections.
A news release Tuesday afternoon indicated the province wants to amend the Municipal Elections Act to make voting "consistent" across federal, provincial and municipal elections.
The response was swift from some London politicians. London was the only municipality in Ontario to implement ranked ballots in the 2018 municipal election.
Jesse Helmer, Ward 4 councillor, started a petition, asking people to sign it, "If you oppose this move to take ranked ballots away as an option…."
Coun. Josh Morgan, who represents Ward 7, expressed his concern on Twitter.
"I’m very disappointed to hear this news. Whether you support ranked ballots or not, allowing local communities to choose the way they elect their governments is a good thing for local democracy. We need more local decision making not less."
Helmer also says in a Tweet that, "The province is putting protecting incumbent politicians ahead of collecting more info from voters."
He says that ranked ballots "allowed tens of thousands of Londoners to rank their preferences for mayor and council elections" and that it encouraged new candidates to run for council.
"It does cost a little bit more to collect much more information about who people support. That is the cost of a stronger local democracy," he says.
But the Ford government says now is a good time to move away from ranked ballots. "Our new proposed changes would bring predictability to municipal elections, at a time when Ontarians are focused on their health and safety."
Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark said that 443 of 444 municipalities will see no change.
"Our government is maintaining predictability, and consistency for municipal elections, while better respecting taxpayers’ dollars."