No support at Cornwall public meeting for ranked balloting

Members of the public listen to a Cornwall special council meeting on proposed ranked balloting for the upcoming municipal election. This is the latest in the procedure to review the alternate voting procedure. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Members of the public got a chance to speak up on the possibility of ranked balloting in the next municipal election.

Several people expressed to council Monday night, the voting system would not help with voter turnout.

Cornwall Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy explained that the city is reviewing the alternate voting procedure because it’s up to the public, not councillors, to decide how people vote at polling stations.

“It’s your election, not ours,” O’Shaughnessy said to the audience of nine people Monday night.

Resident Rod Mallard called it a “complex system. I’m pretty convinced if we go this route more people will be turned off (of voting),” Mallard said.

Jack Lindsay said he went to two public meetings. “I must say if it’s something that the citizens of Cornwall were asking for, I would be more supporting. I don’t think that Cornwall needs to go to a ranked system,” Lindsay said.

Councillors also got a chance to make some comments without debating the issue.

Coun. Bernadette Clement also echoed the comments about how the new system probably wouldn’t increase voter turnout. She said she would be doing some “Googling” on alternatives, such as incentives on your taxes to vote or mandatory voting to get people to the polls.

City council later voted down the ranked balloting option at its regular meeting at 7 p.m.