It’s been 20 years since the Saskatchewan Party has held a leadership race. In a recent election, the Canadian political party successfully declared a winner through a preferential ballot voting system (also known as ranked choice voting or RCV).
Voters had the option of ranking their favorite candidates and after each round of counting, the lowest scoring candidates were dropped and votes were redistributed based on second choice votes. With a very tight race, polls originally indicated that the race would be too close to call.
Here’s how it went through five vote tabulations before a winner with a majority of the votes was declared:
Six candidates were vying for the Saskatchewan Party leadership. On the first ballot, no one received more than 50 percent of the vote. According to the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Alanna Koch was the top vote getter with 26.4 percent, followed by Scott Moe (26.2 percent), Ken Cheveldayoff (24.4 percent), Gordon Wyant (21.5 percent), Tina Beaudry-Mellor (1.3 percent) and Rob Clarke (0.3 percent).
Clarke, gaining the fewest votes, was eliminated. Of his 2nd choice votes 25 went to Cheveldayoff, 12 went to Moe, four went to Koch and two went to both Wyant and Beaudry-Mellor.
The second and third ballots did not have much of an impact. Koch remained in the lead and Moe was runner up. The result of the third ballot makes the fourth ballot really interesting because Wyant got eliminated and most of his support (1,436 votes) went to Moe, while Koch received 993 votes. At that point, Moe was in the lead with 36.4 percent of the overall vote but still not enough to be declared the winner. Cheveldayoff, in last place at the end of the fourth round, was eliminated and of his votes, the majority went to Moe.
When the final results came in, Moe ended up with 53.9 percent of the overall vote and was announced the next leader.
In addition, other Canadian provinces are holding contests using the ranked choice voting system as well. The Alberta Party leadership race is “shaping up to be one of the most civil campaigns in recent memory.” Candidates were reported of speaking highly of each other at a local event, promoting civility. We’ll keep an eye on the results and report them when they’re made available.