Conservative Party of Canada Will Cast Ranked Ballots in Leadership Election

Posted by Austin Plier on January 26, 2017

On May 27, 2017, members of the Conservative Party of Canada will elect new leadership after current leader Stephen Harper tendered his resignation on election night in 2015. There are currently 14 candidates that have registered to run for the open leadership position. In order to ensure a consensus candidate is elected, the winner must receive majority support.

In order to ensure a majority winner, party members will each cast a ranked ballot this spring. The party technically uses a "point" system, in which each electoral district is allocated 100 points, but each point simply amounts to one voting party member. Party members will cast their ranked ballot, and if a candidate has a majority (16,901 points) they will be declared the winner. However if no candidate has a majority, the candidate in last place is eliminated, and those party members have their "point" count for the candidate ranked second on their ballot. This process will continue until one candidate wins with a majority. Ranked ballots make particular sense for party elections, as they bring consensus and cohesion to leadership posts within the party. In the U.S. political parties on both sides of the aisle have used ranked choice voting, including Arlington, VA Democrats and Utah Republicans.

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