(1) Yonk, R., Simmons, R., & Groberg, D. (2014). Extreme voter makeover: The role of ranked choice voting in the Oakland City elections. Journal of Politics and Law. 7(2), pp.23-32.
(2) Orellana, S. (2010). How electoral systems can influence policy innovation. The Policy Studies Journal. 38(4), pp.613-628.  


Association of Municipalities of Ontario.(2015). 2014 Municipal elections voter turnout report as of January 22, 2015. Retrieved Jan. 15, 2015, from

Academic Research 

Electoral Systems and Policy Innovation

“…diversity is a form of openness and, as such, that it affects a society’s flow of information. The flow of information will be greater in societies with institutions that facilitate the expression of a more diverse range of perspectives, and especially of dissenting perspectives. This variation in information should be of great consequence to a wide range of political outcomes, but especially to policy innovation and concomitant change in public preferences.” 

“Decades of research shows that electoral institutions influence many areas of politics. …they are also credited with influencing virtually every other important characteristic of a democracy, including minority representation, the success of interest groups and social movements, responsiveness to public opinion, conflict mitigation, and corruption. We are also learning that electoral institutions influence a broad array of policy outcomes, including wealth redistribution and several other elements of economic policy.” (2)

Oakland Case Study

“Voting and counting rules matter very much in an election. Oakland City proves this. It should be noted that voting methods also alter campaigning. A polarizing character…that tends to either have loyal followers or stark opponents does not have as well of a chance as a more moderate candidate who is maybe not adored by anyone but generally liked by all. In RCV the second choice pick is one of the most important stations to have access to. “

“The findings from this case study are consistent with Trading Places and Brams, Hansen, and Olsen (2006) who showed that different multicandidate preference voting systems result in varied outcomes. Brams et al. used their ballots from the 2006 Public Choice Society Presidential election.”

“As expected with the changes made to this election there were those who were not happy with the new type of voting. Most of the vocal opposition to Ranked Choice voting came from those candidates who had lost. They complained that things were not set out clearly and that it was not run the way an election usually is. They were right. The change in vote system rules changed everything about this election. (PBS, 2010)” (1)

Whitby election data sets demonstrate problems of a First-Past-The-Post system. Specifically one notes that not only does Whitby have among the lowest voter turnouts in the region, but that the majority of the region ranks below the provincial average.  Of the total number of elected officials, only 2 had sufficient vote totals to win simple majority mandates.  In race for mayor, Don Mitchell was the only candidate with broad public recognition, having served on council since 1994.  As such, following the withdrawal of incumbent mayor Perkins, the outcome would not appear to have been in jeopardy.  By contrast, Centre Ward 3, represents the pressing need for a ranked ballot system.  Ward (3) has witnessed contentiously successive campaigns.  A combination of vote splitting, strategic voting, and negative campaigning managed to generate virtually identical consecutive election results.  This is not to suggest ranked ballots would ultimately have shifted the outcome, however, such a system would have generated more comprehensive campaigning.  Furthermore, requiring candidates to focus on ideas and constituencies would ensure that elected officials cultivate broad rather than divided coalitional support.