Ontario to Introduce Ranked Ballot Option for Municipal Elections

Ontario will introduce changes today to the Municipal Elections Act that would, if passed, modernize municipal elections and provide the option of using ranked ballots in future municipal elections.

Between May and July 2015, Ontario consulted on potential changes to the Municipal Elections Act and received more than 3,400 submissions. Most submissions were from members of the public and supported giving municipalities the option of using ranked ballots in future elections, which would allow a voter to rank candidates in order of preference. The option to use ranked ballots would begin for the 2018 municipal elections.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin

Other proposed changes to the act would, if passed, increase transparency and accountability and make election rules clear and modern, by:

  • Shortening the campaign calendar by opening nominations for candidates on May 1 instead of January 1
  • Creating a framework to regulate third party advertising, including contribution and spending limits
  • Making campaign finance rules clearer and easier to follow for voters, candidates and contributors, including giving all municipalities the option to ban corporate and union donations
  • Removing barriers that could affect electors and candidates with disabilities
  • Making it easier to add or change information on the voters’ list

“These proposals clarify the rules for voters and allow for more choice in how to run elections, including the option of using ranked ballots,” Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin said.  Toronto has been the only municipality allowed to ban union and corporate contributions.