Last week, South Dundas council decided that they are going to be followers rather than leaders when it comes to the ranked ballot voting option now permitted in 2018 under changes to the Municipal Elections Act.
With the uncertainty surrounding the new method, where voters rank candidates in order of preference, it is understandable that South Dundas doesn’t want to be leaders this time around.
More voter choice is appealing, and easier to apply to single person positions like mayor and deputy mayor. The process is complicated when applied to councillors at-large.
Nevertheless, should South Dundas see merit in the ranked ballot option, returning to the ward system would simplify the process.
Reverting to the ward system in South Dundas has its benefits, as it would ensure more even geographical representation, a balance that is missing now.
Of utmost importance for consideration for the upcoming 2018 election is how the ballots will be cast.
South Dundas has tried paper ballot, mail-in, telephone and online methods over its history.
While the convenience of higher tech methods have been reasonably successful when it comes to voter turnout numbers, they have not been without difficulties.
Not only have allegations of voter fraud been part of the difficulties over the years, technical issues leading to extremely lengthy waits for election night results have left a bad taste in the mouths of many in South Dundas.
As a result, it is reasonable to expect the return of the paper ballot for South Dundas voters in 2018.
Council will debate that in the new year once a report is submitted by the clerk.
Now is the time to revert back to the paper ballot.
While this low tech option may be slightly less convenient, it is the foolproof, tried and tested method of voting that has served voters in Canada since 1872.
Making time to cast a ballot at a polling station is a simple act, and important to the vitality of our local democracy.
It is the ultimate decision a voter can make, choosing who represents them for the next four years.
There is something to be said for simplicity. Keep it simple.
Technology hasn’t made good on its promises, so let’s eliminate it from the equation.