End Votesplitting in Vancouver\'s Mayoral Elections
We believe that Vancouver\'s mayor should be clearly supported by a majority of the voters, but the way we elect our mayor doesn\'t guarantee that the voters\' wishes are respected. The main reason for this is that our current First Past the Post system elects the candidate who gets the most votes. This sounds fine until you realize that that can mean that our mayor could be elected with as little as a third of the votes. How fair is that In 2008, there is a strong possibility that Vision and COPE will not agree on a joint mayoral candidate. That means that there will be three strong candidates vying for the job. If the NPA candidate obtains 45% of the vote (roughly what he took in 2005), the Vision and COPE candidates are likely to split much of the balance, so it is extremely unlikely that anyone will win a clear majority. It could be that, given a straight choice, the 55% of the voters who did not support the NPA would prefer to elect the Vision candidate, say. On the other hand, perhaps the NPA candidate has reached out to the 5-10% of voters who supported other minor candidates so that in a straight choice between the NPA and either the Vision or COPE candidate, the NPA wins with 55% of the vote. Only a new way of marking and counting the votes can let us be sure of the answer to these questions and sure that the winner is the candidate who the voters actually want more than any other. How might we do this Many cities in the US have adopted a preferential ballot in recent years to address this problem. For example, San Francisco now uses a preferential ballot for electing District Supervisors (roughly equivalent to Vancouver\'s Councilors) and after its first citywide use in 2004, 87% of voters wanted to keep the new system (see www.fairvote.org/sf/gonzalez121404.htm). With a preferential ballot, voters numerically rank the candidates (1,2,3,etc). During the count, each candidate can be matched up one-on-one against each other one and the candidate who wins all the matchups is declared the winner. This will ensure that the winner has clear majority support against any contender and will put an end to vote-splitting and strategic voting (where voters have to vote for someone they dislike least rather than the candidate they like most). A preferential ballot also stimulates more public debate and more points of view during the mayoral race by encouraging more people to run for mayor. This happens because candidates from smaller parties or nonpartisans can run and their supporters can vote for them while still being sure that their vote will count in decisions about the leading partisan candidates. We therefore ask city council to take whatever steps are necessary to enact this fair voting system in time for the 2008 city elections to ensure that Vancouver\'s mayors are forever after elected by a clear majority of the city\'s voters.