What is a Ranked Ballot?

​Ranked ballots allow a voter to rank candidates in order of preference --first choice, second choice, third choice, etc. -- instead of just voting for one candidate. Ranked Ballots are new to Ontario and are now permitted under recent amendments to the Municpal Elections Act. 

What are ranked ballots?

To date, all Canadian governments have elected their representatives through "first past the post" elections, meaning that the candidate who receives that highest number of votes wins, regardless of the percentage of votes they receive. Although ranked ballots have not yet been implemented in Canada, new legislation now provides municipalities the option to continue with the "first past the post" municipal elections, or to switch to a ranked ballot system.

Ranked ballot elections require candidates to receive 50% of the votes to win. Voters rank candidates on their ballot in order of preference.  Initial results are tabulated based on voters' first choice.  If no candidate obtains 50% of the vote, a runoff occurs.  The candidate with the lowest number of votes is then eliminated. The first choice votes that originally went to the eliminated candidate are set aside and the second choices on those ballots are counted.  Runoffs continue until a candidate receives 50% of the vote.

 Ranked ballot flowchart

Ranked Ballots in Ontario

City of London 
The City of London implemented ranked ballots for the 2018 Municipal Election. Information regarding the election and their report to London City Council following the election can be found here.
City of Cambridge
The City of Cambridge included a question on thier ballot in 2018 related to ranked ballot elections. With voter turnout less than 50% the resutls are not binding on the municpality but Council has asked staff to report back in the spring of 2020 regarding the feasibiltiy of a ranked ballot election. More information on the City of Cambridge and Ranked Ballots can be found here.
City of Kingston
The City of Kingston also included a question on thier ballot in 2018 related to ranked ballot elections. With voter turnout less than 50% the results are not binding on the municpality. More information on the City of Kingston can be found here.

 

For more information about ranked ballots please visit the links below. A full explanation of the process and how ranked ballots are counted is explained here​

​Ranked Ballots