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How to explain using “Ranked” Ballot to Nomination Meetings (or voters in general)

Yesterday, I was discussing in a Facebook Liberal thread Anita Vandenbeld’s win as the next candidate to represent the LPC in Ottawa-Nepean, and the fact that of 635 votes cast, there were 64 “spoiled ballots” – a rather high number (10%) for a nomination meeting, particularly with 3 high-profile candidates running in it.

The issue came up of whether the fact that the Ranked Ballot was being used here because of multiple candidates confused some people. I don’t know if that was the case or not (I’ve heard that most of the 10% were “exhausted” ballots – that is, people for the 3rd place finisher did not mark down or indicate a 2nd choice, which is their right), but others have told me that at some of these nomination meetings involving 3 or more nomination candidates, the LPC representatives don’t always do a very good job explaining how you vote in an election or nomination process using a “ranked ballot”

Since I’m a supporter of Ranked Ballot (or Preferential Ballot, or IRV, or whatever you prefer to call it) I will now do a public service and explain how, if I was an LPC spokesperson at a nomination meeting, would explain to people how to vote on a ranked ballot. I’ll even give a couple of variations: I’ll quote one of my candidate friends who had similar complaints about the explanation process:

“Put a ‘1’ next to your first choice; put a ‘2’ next to your second choice, and put a ‘3’ next to your third choice. If you don’t have a third or second choice, you don’t need to mark them.”

Or as I put it to someone, rank the people in order of preference of choice on your ballot (1,2,3 etc) but if you only have 1 preferred candidate, you’re not obligated to rank or choose more.

THat seems easy-peasy to me. We don’t need to make the explanation so complex a rocket-scientist needs to decipher it. Again, I don’t know if that was what occurred in Ottawa-Nepean, but the suggestion of it and the fact I’ve heard it before made me want to do this post.

(Oh, and congrats to Anita Vandenbeld in Ottawa-Nepean yesterday 😉 I expect her old nomination site to be redirected to a Liberal microsite shortly)

UPDATE: Someone just mentioned to me it might be worthwhile for me to add that ranking someone second or third will never, hurt your first choice when compared to just ranking someone first. I suppose the opposite side of the coin to that is if you dislike the other folks so much you’d rather not support anyone other then your 1st choice, that’s your right.


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