Kingston Council to discuss ranked ballots at Tuesday meeting

kINGSTON cITY HALL

Kingston City Council will get its first formal chance to respond to proposed provincial legislation barring ranked balloting when it meets on Tuesday. 

Council will consider a motion that calls for the Ford Government to "respect the fundamental principles of democracy" and allow the city to continue with the ranked balloting system in the 2022 municipal election. The system would mean voters would rank candidates in order of preference instead of choosing just one, with votes redistributed if no candidate has a majority. 

A bill introduced in the Legislature last week included a ban on ranked ballots as the government said it wanted to keep the system uniform across the province and save money. 

Over two-thirds of Kingston residents who voted in the last election voted for the system but because at least 50 per cent of the electorate didn't take part, the referendum is not legally binding. 

The motion from Trillium Councillor Robert Kiley and Williamsville Councillor Jim Neill that will come to Council Tuesday called the ranked-ballot system "a fair, effective and democratic tool, which promotes diversity and civility, employed with success by all of Canada’s major political parties to select their leaders."

The City of London used a ranked ballot system during its 2018 election, the only municipality to do so in the province.