Your questions answered.

Who are we?

We are a non-partisan group of Ottawa residents who believe that Ranked Choice Voting will bring about friendlier elections, better ideas, and increased diversity on Ottawa’s City Council.

Click here to meet our team.

What is the Ranked Choice Voting and how does it work?

Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to rank their candidates by preference instead of voting for just one candidate. Ranked Choice Voting will promote more fair and friendly elections without changing ward boundaries or structures of the City of Ottawa.

Click here to learn more about what Ranked Choice Voting is and how it works!  You can also try our online voting simulator here

Isn’t Ranked Choice Voting more complicated and confusing?

Not at all!  It really is as easy as 1-2-3!  Ranked Choice Voting is simple and is already used all around the world and even within our own political parties. Ottawans are just as capable of adapting to the Ranked Choice Voting as other major cities around the world!  To see who else uses ranked ballots click here.

You can also try our voting simulator to see how simple Ranked Choice Voting is.  

What are the benefits of Ranked Choice Voting?

Ranked Choice Voting is more fair, eliminates vote-splitting reduces strategic voting, and encourages fairer and friendlier elections. For more information about the benefits of Ranked Choice Voting for the City of Ottawa,  click here.

What if I don’t know or want to rank all the candidates?

No problem! Voters may choose to rank all or just some of the candidates. Voters can even vote for just one candidate if they want, and their vote would still be included in the election count. However, ranking candidates gives voters more say in the outcome of the election. Even if your prefered candidate is eliminated from the race, your ranked ballot can still have an impact on the election.

What’s wrong with our current municipal electoral system anyway?

Right now, voters choose one candidate on their ballot for each position (Mayor, Councillor & School Trustee). On election day, votes are added up and whoever has the most votes is the winner. However, if there were three or more candidates, this ‘First Past the Post’ (FPTP) system allows candidates to win an election with less than 50% of the vote.   w Our current system also encourages negative campaigning, strategic voting, and vote splitting.  Ranked Choice Voting would change this – to see why Ranked Choice Voting is better, click here.

Does Ranked Choice Voting give an advantage to one type of candidate over another?

Since our current voting system encourages vote splitting, candidates with broad public appeal and similar platforms are at a disadvantage in our current elections. Under a Ranked Choice Voting system, candidates who have broader public appeal will have an advantage over candidates who don’t.

Why is Ranked Choice Voting the best voting system for the City of Ottawa?

There are many alternative voting systems used  around the world to elect representatives.  Ranked Choice Voting is the most simple and feasible solution to address some of the shortcomings of the current electoral system at the city level.

Ranked Choice Voting is not the same as proportional representation. Proportional representation cannot work for the City of Ottawa because there are no political parties or multi-member wards – one of which is necessary for proportional representation. The financial cost of running a campaign that adopts political parties or large multi-member wards could become an obstacle, reducing choice and diversity.
For more information on why Ranked Choice Voting is a better fit for the City of Ottawa than Proportional Representation click here.


Should we use Ranked Choice Voting for national and provincial elections?

Ottawa123 does not advocate for Ranked Choice Voting or any type of voting system at the national or provincial levels.  While the same problems of the first-past-the-post system exist, there are many more options that can be considered at these levels.

Wait, doesn't the Ontario Provincial Government need to amend legislation in order for the City of Ottawa to change its voting system?

Yes, but plans are underway to amend the Municipal Elections Act (MEA).  During the last provincial election campaign, the Ontario Liberals promised to amend the act to allow municipalities to choose between our current system and Ranked Choice Voting. Premier Kathleen Wynne has since indicated in a mandate letter to the Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister to amend the MEA to allow municipalities to make the change to RCV.  Ottawa123 anticipates that new legislation will pass sometime in early 2016.


In the meantime, Ottawa123 is building support for Ranked Choice Voting in City Hall and the community in anticipation of the legislation. You can help out too, by clicking here!


What needs to happen for Ranked Choice Voting to be a reality in the City of Ottawa?
  1. The Ontario Provincial Government needs to amend the Municipal Elections Act to allow municipalities to change their voting system to Ranked Choice Voting.  This is already in motion!
  2. Ottawa City Council would need to hold a vote on switching the electoral system from the current First-Past-the-Post system to Ranked Choice Voting.
Who supports Ranked Choice Voting

The list of city councillors, politicians, journalists and community members who support Ranked Choice Voting is growing!  Check out our full list here.


What can I do to help Ottawa123?

We can fix our system, but only with your support. The Ranked Choice Voting Initiative is an independent, community-driven initiative. We don’t have big budgets for advertising, so we are relying on you to spread the word! Getting involved is as easy as 1-2-3!