London

What some early voters think of ranked ballots

Londoners have the chance to cast their early ballots at either Western University or Fanshawe College’s London campus

Advanced polls opened Thursday at Western University and Fanshawe College's London campus

This is a mock election form that was used in a test election earlier this year. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

The municipal election race is ramping up Thursday with the start of advanced voting.

Londoners have the chance to cast their early ballots at either Western University or Fanshawe College's London campus.

And many did — some even made history using a ranked-choice ballot system. London is the first city in Canada to use the new system in a municipal election.

With the system in its first year, voters had the choice to opt out of it.

CBC News checked in with a few early bird voters at Western University to see what they thought of ranked balloting as the city inches closer to the Oct. 22 election date.

Jordan Tepper

Jordan Tepper came out to advanced polling at Western University. (Gary Ennett/CBC)

The second-year political science student said he "didn't find [ranked balloting] confusing but I wasn't completely aware of it until a little bit ago. So it was a little bit hard to have to pick more people because I wasn't specifically confident in the other politicians so I wasn't completely sure but I did my best to take guesses."

"I think [ranked balloting] would hurt my main choices because it gives a lot more leverage to the second and third place people I'd rank," said Tepper.

"What was really important for me was coming out and voting because I think my generation is very underrepresented and a lot of people don't show up so I think as long as I came out and put in my ballot that it will make a difference in the future," he said, noting that it's his first time voting in a municipal election.

Amanda Burdick

Amanda Burdick chose not to rank this year. (Gary Ennett/CBC)

The mother of two chose to vote early because it suited her schedule. And though she considered ranked balloting, she chose to opt out of it this year.

"I chose not to rank … there were not three candidates in my ward that I wanted to vote for to be perfectly honest."

As for mayor, "only one candidate was the one that I wanted to choose, so I chose one."

Her message to other voters: "don't worry about the ranked system, you can ignore it this year, just come out and vote."

Ryan Baldwin

Ryan Baldwin is a student at Western University. (Gary Ennett/CBC)

The second-year business student admitted that ranking was a little bit intimidating "to try and narrow down the ones you want. But I felt confident to choose candidates that I really preferred."

"It was definitely interesting to have to choose three candidates instead of just one but I thought it was overall pretty easy. They explained it pretty well and the ballot was really well laid out, so it was definitely really easy to use the process."

"It definitely caused me to think deeper for sure because the people that I choose second and third still have a really good chance of becoming mayor so I had to make sure that if I was putting down a vote for them, that I was okay with the policies that they represent," he said.

Ashton Forrest

London's election is on Oct. 22. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Forrest, a master's student in philosophy, said she chose to rank her first and second choices but didn't go any further.

"I think ranking will make it different for my favourite candidate but it will definitely help my second candidate," she said.

"I liked it. It was a lot better in the sense that I liked having a second choice, that if my first choice doesn't get through, at least I still have confidence that the second person that I picked is capable of doing the job just as well … It took a lot of burden and pressure off of my decision verses betting it all on one person," she added.

"Make and educated decision … there's so much information online, video recordings and debates that have happened."