Leamington Passes On Ranked Ballots

The Town of Leamington is taking a pass on bringing in ranked ballots for the next election and sticking with the more familiar first-past-the-post system.

As part of the Municipal Elections Modernization Act, towns and cities across Ontario now have the option to bring in ranked balloting which allows voters to list their favour candidates from first to worst.

The winning candidate would need to have 50% plus 1, which would mean candidates would likely rely on getting second-place votes to get elected.

The current system sees the candidate with the most votes elected, even if the candidate doesn't reach majority support.

Leamington Mayor John Paterson says his council isn't ready to implement a system no other town in the province has brought in yet. ""I think most of us express the same opinion — if the federal government that's been pushing this in the first place isn't even going to do it themselves, that sends a red flag to the rest of us."

"The municipality doesn't have any money budget for what would be an expensive change," says Paterson. "The cost to make this happen is just beyond what I think any small municipality will want to spend. Even the larger municipalities like Windsor and London and Hamilton. They're all looking at this and going, 'Yeah, no thank you.'"

The updated Municipal Elections Act will shorten the campaign to 13 weeks in 2018 from the 37-week campaign in the 2014 election.

The update legislation also bans corporations and trade unions from contributing to municipal election campaigns.