Six Myths about Ranked Ballots

 

1. "Ranked ballots are undemocratic"

This is not only a myth, but a hilarious double-standard.  All of Canada's political parties happily use ranked ballots to choose their own leader.  Every single federal and provincial nomination in Canada (1028!) is done with a runoff election.  Municipally, councils all across Ontario use runoff voting - internally - for choosing committee chairs or appointing interim councillors.  So... it's undemocratic for voters, but good enough for them to use.  (read more here).

 

2. "Too complicated"

This argument is absurd.  Ranked Ballots are literally as easy as 123.  You pick your first choice, your second choice and your third.  But don't take it from us.  Take it from those who actually use ranked ballots!  We traveled to Minneapolis to talk with voters, and the first question we asked them was "Is the ballot easy to use?"  Here's what they told us:

 

3. "Disempowers immigrants"

Some opponents of ranked ballots have suggested that "certain communities" might have trouble using ranked ballots.  This is not only inaccurate, it's racist.  To suggest that any community, based on ethnicity or age, will have trouble counting to three is both foolish and discriminatory.

 

4. "Forces you to rank"

We often hear the question "What if I don't want to rank?  What if I only have one choice?".  We have good news for you.  No one is being forced to rank.  You can rank three choices, two choices, or simply choose one candidate.  It's up to you!

 

5. "Violates one-person-one-vote"

Some have suggested that runoff voting treats voters unequally.  This is simply untrue.  Each ballot counts for one vote, and always one vote (unless all of your choices have been eliminated from the race).

 

6. "A solution without a problem"

The most popular argument about democratic renewal is "What are we trying to fix?  Everything is fine".  If you hear someone say this, ask them the following questions:  1) What was the voter turnout in our last local election?  2) How many Council members won a seat with less than 50%?  3) Does our council represent the diversity and gender balance of our municipality?  4) Were there any negative campaigns in the last election?  Then take a look here.


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