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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question which does not appear in this list, please contact the Elections Office.

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  • What is ranked choice voting?

    Ranked choice voting is a method in which voters are able to rank candidates based on their preference (i.e. first preference candidate, second preference candidate, etc.)

  • Does my municipality have to use ranked choice?

    Ontario municipalities had the option to use ranked choice voting for the first time in the 2018 Municipal Elections, but ranked choice voting is not mandatory for municipalities.

  • Can I only vote for one candidate?

    Using ranked choice voting, you have the option to rank three candidates in order of preference.  In other words, you can still vote for only one candidate - it's your choice!

    If a voter only ranks one candidate, that candidate would be the voter's highest preference. Only one candidate can be ranked as your top (1st) choice.

  • What if I vote for the same person as first, second and third choice?

    Ranking the same candidate as your first, second and third choice has the same effect as marking that candidate as your first choice, and not making a second or third choice.

    A candidate's chances of winning are not improved by selecting that candidate at more than one ranking on a ballot.

  • What if someone marks a second and third choice but not their first?

    If a voter skips a ranking, the next highest ranking will be considered.

  • What would happen if all my choices were eliminated?

    If all the candidates that you had listed as your preferences were eliminated, your ballot would become “exhausted.” Exhausted ballots are removed from the count, as they cannot be redistributed to any of the remaining candidates.

  • When there are only two candidates remaining, does 50% plus 1 still apply?

    After the first round of counting, in subsequent rounds, it is possible for a candidate to be elected without reaching the threshold of 50% plus one vote.

    For example, if there are only two candidates left and neither has reached the threshold, the candidate with the highest number of votes wins.


  • What happens if there is a tie?

    If two or more candidates are tied, the result of the previous round is used to determine which candidate will be eliminated. The candidate who had the fewest votes in the previous round is eliminated in the tied round.

    If the candidates are tied in all of the previous rounds, the tie is decided by a random draw (i.e. by putting the candidates’ names in a hat or other container).

  • Do the ballots have to be counted electronically?

    Ranked ballots can be counted manually or electronically. For instance, in their 2009 municipal election, Minneapolis, Minnesota (with a population of over 385,000 at the time) counted all of the ballots cast in its first choice ballot election by hand. The City of London intends to use an electronic method of counting.

  • How long will it take to count the votes?

    The length of time it takes to count the votes may depend on the number of rounds of tabulation that are required to determine a winner. It may take several days to determine the results of the election.