London

What we know about Canada's first ranked-ballot municipal election

City staff have reviewed Canada's first ranked-ballot municipal election and have released some figures about how it all went.

Of those Londoners who voted, 47% ranked three candidates in Canada's first ranked-ballot municipal election

One-third of voters chose not to rank their ballots, but two-thirds did. (CBC Graphics)

City staff have reviewed Canada's first ranked-ballot municipal election and will present a report to corporate services committee Tuesday. 

Here are some of the findings from the report about London's municipal election: 

Most voters ranked their ballots

Of the 39 per cent of Londoners who voted in the municipal election, most took advantage of the fact that they could, for the first time in a municipal election in Canada, rank their ballots. 47 per cent of voters ranked three candidates; 22 per cent ranked two candidates; and 31 per cent just ranked one candidate. That means that while one-third of voters rejected the idea of ranking their ballot, the other two-thirds didn't. 

It was labour intensive

Managers and staff in the city's clerk's office worked evenings and weekends to get people ready for the different voting system. And the city hired 1,906 workers to staff election day and the advance polls. And in the four months leading up to the election, 500 people quit or were otherwise unable to work, so had to be replaced on or before voting day. 

It was not cheap

In total, the election cost more than $1.7 million, up from the 2014 election, which cost $1.3 million. Some of that cost came from the technology to run the ranked ballot election, such as vote tabulators, ballots and ballot boxes and software. That added up to  $470,500. The city also spent $24,700 on supplies such as security seals and pens, $147,752 on an auditor to verify that everything was being done according to the rules, and $82,686 in staff time. The cost of outreach and education was $141,100.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

There were new rules for politicians who wanted to put up election signs, and complaints about signs kept bylaw officers busy. In the three months leading up to the election, there were a lot of complaints. In August, there were 60 complaints; in September, there were 62 and in October, there were 55. 

Tick tock

Polls closed at 8 p.m. on election night, and poll workers drove tabulators from 199 polling stations to city hall. They'd all arrived by 9:30 p.m. Eight wards had winners that night, but the remaining seven were set aside until 10 a.m. the next morning. All of the results were published 19 hours after polls closed. 

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