Ranked ballots in Canada? Liberals not necessarily advantaged by switch to voting system

If Justin Trudeau gets his way on electoral reform, will the Liberals “steal” every federal election in perpetuity?

As hearings on a new voting regime resume Monday, the Conservatives contend that’s what would be in store if Canada adopts a system of ranked ballots, which the prime minister has in the past touted as his preference for replacing the current first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system.

Pollsters, pundits and proponents of proportional representation are only slightly less apocalyptic, predicting that a ranked ballot system – also known as preferential ballot or alternative vote (AV) – would certainly give the centrist Liberals an unfair advantage.

Hogwash, say political scientists who specialize in the study of voting systems.

“Would the Liberals automatically benefit? No,” says Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brian Tanguay.

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