Article on Ranked Ballots for Toronto

Toronto City Hall (photo credit: Jérôme Decq)

The Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto (RaBIT) campaigns for the adoption of ranked ballots (or instant-runoff voting) for municipal elections. I recently wrote an article for their blog. The article explains why proportional representation advocates (like me!) should support their cause — even though ranked ballots alone do not achieve proportionality. Here’s it is:

Why Ranked Ballots are the Right Reform, Right Now, for Toronto

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Bon MMP, Bad MMP

The National Assembly of Wales, a bad example of MMP (image source)

Many Canadians are calling for our provincial and federal elections to be conducted using the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system.1 If Canada does make this transition, it is extremely important that we adopt a good MMP model and not a bad one. What’s the difference? I claim that a simple rule distinguishes between good and bad MMP voting systems:

  •  A good MMP model is one where a vote for a district candidate counts as a vote for their party.
  •  A bad MMP model is one where a vote for a district candidate does not count as a vote for their party.

A bad MMP model will perpetuate if not exacerbate tactical voting. It will fail to make parties more accountable to the electorate in every region. It might create the perception that there are two classes of representatives, one superior to the other. It might leave many voters with less confidence in Canadian democracy.

A good MMP model, on the other hand, will simply improve Canadian democracy without introducing any serious adverse effects. Continue reading →