Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, Manitoba -
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont says his party will end strategic voting and bring in ranked ballots in provincial elections, allowing Manitobans to vote in a way that better reflects their personal and community values.
The commitment is the first plank in the MLPs platform dedicated to Democratic Renewal & Rebuilding Trust and Accountability in the Manitoba Government.
Lamont said the party opted for ranked ballots rather than other systems like proportional representation because it gives voters more choice and more say in their MLAs and government and it requires political campaigns to encourage each other’s supporters instead of suppressing their votes.
Every winning MLA candidate would have to receive a clear majority of 50%+ 1 of support from voters, requiring candidates to campaign to appeal to opponents' supporters as well. Ranked ballots are in many jurisdictions around the world, including in Australia, which, at 95% has among the highest voter turnout in the world.
“If we want lasting change in Manitoba, we need to change the way we vote by strengthening grassroots democracy with ranked ballots in provincial elections. One of the reasons we keep flip-flopping back and forth in Manitoba is that under our system, voters are told they have no choice but to vote for someone they don’t like to keep out someone else out. And that’s how you get the dysfunctional governments and divisive campaigns we see in Manitoba right now,” said Lamont.
"Ranked ballots, or some version of runoff elections, are used by most political parties to elect their leaders. They were also used in Manitoba elections in the past. All other aspects of campaigns would be the same – just the ballots and counting would change.
Lamont explained he favoured ranked ballots over proportional representation because it was simpler, more straightforward, and is driven by local votes on local candidates based on community consensus.
"Last election, more Manitobans stayed home than all votes combined for the winning side. This speaks to the need to get Manitobans on board with the political process, which starts with a ranked ballot,” said Lamont. “The PCs and NDP aren’t giving people anything to vote for. There is a real choice for real change when it comes to rebuilding trust in Manitoba democracy, and it’s the Manitoba Liberal Party.”