British Columbia

The bingo wheel has spoken — order of candidates on Vancouver's election ballot is set

The red, wire cage bingo wheel has spoken. After a dramatic draft lottery on Friday night, we now know the order in which Vancouver's 158 candidates for mayor, council, park board and school board will appear on the ballot next month for local elections.

'I knew it!' exclaimed the candidate who scored the top spot

Democracy in action. (CBC)

The red, wire cage bingo wheel has spoken. After a dramatic draft lottery on Friday night, we now know the order in which Vancouver's 158 candidates for mayor, council, park board and school board will appear on the ballot next month for local elections. 

How did it all go down?

Each candidate's name was written on a piece of paper, read out loud, and folded in such a way that the name was not visible, then placed in the bingo wheel.

The wheel was spun a few times before each name was drawn. That process was done first for the 21 mayoral candidates, then for the 71 council candidates and the 33 school board and park board candidates. 

The unusual process was needed because this year the City of Vancouver has decided to randomize the order of candidates on the ballot, instead of the historical method of listing people alphabetically.

If you were wondering why the city of Vancouver owns a bingo wheel, the city's chief electoral officer Rosemary Hagiwara cleared that up.

It turns out, it was bought especially for this occasion.

So how did some of the candidates fare?

Mayoral candidate Jason Lamarche will be first on the ballot. He celebrated by laughing and yelling "I knew it" (followed by an expletive).

David Chen is the fourth person on the ballot, Shauna Sylvester is fifth, and Kennedy Stewart is eighth.

Fred Harding is 10th, Hector Bremner is 11th, and Wai Young is 13th.

The honour of being the last on the council ballot goes to Heather Deal, the only councillor from ruling Vision Vancouver seeking re-election.

Adriane Carr, who ranked 66 out of 71, said she's not concerned about being lower on the list.

"I think name recognition is going to count for a lot ... I think it's going to be an interesting exercise," Carr said.

"I'm an incumbent two-time councillor, so I think they're going to look for my name on the ballot. That's my hope because with so many names, people are going to need something to go by."

No numbered ballots

On Friday night, five independent council candidates — Sarah Blyth, Adrian Crook, Wade Grant, Rob McDowell and Erin Shum — issued a joint statement asking for a numbered ballot, arguing it would create a "level playing field with big political parties."

A numbered ballot would list numbers next to all candidate names.

The release said it would make it easier for voters to find the candidates they're looking for, and facilitate voting for people who speak English as a second language.

Hagiwara said the city had considered that option, but ultimately decided against it.

She said it would mean adding more columns to the ballots, which would make the names smaller and more difficult to read.

"The numbering system might also add bias, some cultures have positive associations with numbers, or negative associations."

With files from Meera Bains

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