Voices & Choices

A cure for bad elections? Asbestos shows the answer

A cure for bad elections? Asbestos shows the answer

Asbestos, Canada picked a new name this week, using ranked choice voting (RCV) to choose from six options. The town had originally been named for its large asbestos mine, but since the mine closed in 2012 the name has been seen as a detriment to economic development.

Residents drove to the parking lot of Connie-Dion arena to cast their ranked ballots. No name received a majority of the vote in the first or second rounds of counting, but in the third round “Val-des-Sources” (Valley of the Springs) was chosen with 51 percent of the vote.

There are still some legal steps the town must take to formalize its name change - such as obtaining approval from Quebec’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing - but these appear likely to proceed without objection.

Asbestos proves that the value of RCV stretches beyond politics. For any decision with more than two options, RCV provides an easy, fair way to pick one acceptable to most voters.

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