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Friday, October 3, 2008

VOTING IN THE MUNICIPAL ELECTION

First-past-the-post system: This is the system we use in Nanaimo for Municipal elections and refers to the basis on which votes are counted in order to determine who is elected. A first-past-the-post system is one where ballots are not valid unless they have been marked by the voter to indicate the candidate(s) that the voter wishes to have elected. No more candidates can be indicated than the number of vacancies to be filled.

Often voters think that because there are eight positions for City Council they need to pick eight names from the list of candidates. This is not true and can ultimately cause those you want to see elected to lose (see Plumping).

Counting of the Votes: Where there are multiple council positions, 8 in Nanaimo, to be filled, the votes on each ballot are counted as being of equal value to each other. Even though a voter might have a distinct order of preference among the candidates there is no mechanism for such preferences to be shown on the ballot.

Candidates are elected consecutively according to who receives the largest number of votes. There is no pre-determined percentage of the overall vote required to be gained before a candidate is elected so a candidate can be elected with a very much smaller percentage of the vote than under any other electoral system.

Plumping: Plumping allows voters to vote for fewer than the number of candidates to be elected. It permits voters to concentrate their voting power on those they support, rather than being constrained to also vote for those they oppose. Rather than voting for all eight council positions a voter can chose to vote for simply one, two or more if they wish.

Prepared by Gordon Fuller – October 3rd, 2008

1 comment:

Allium said...

Thanks for this. In the past I've often felt like I was supposed to vote for the maximum number of available vacancies but I see now that it's more important to only vote for the people I believe will do the best job!