Wrapping up last week’s United Conservative Party candidates’ forum in Slave Lake, UCP constituency association president Ken Vanderwell had what he called “breaking news:” polling stations for the Nov. 24 vote will be added in Wabasca and Red Earth, he said, due to a recent upswing in party membership sales in those areas.
Vanderwell subsequently told The Leader according to the UCP rules on such matters, if at least 60 memberships are sold in a community, and it’s over an hour away from an existing polling station, it qualifies for one of its own.
Slave Lake’s polling station will be at the Legion.
As for the voting itself, the format will be what’s called ‘preferential ballot.’ Voters will have the option of choosing just one of the names, or of ranking them in order of preference, from one to six. Or, for that matter, of ranking any number of them in order of preference (doesn’t have to be all six, in other words).
What this amounts to is a tie-breaking system. Vanderwell explains that all that’s needed for a victory on first count is 50 per cent of the votes, plus one. In the event of a tie, the sixth-place finisher will be knocked off the bottom, and the votes on that person’s ballots added to the tallies of the other candidates. If that doesn’t resolve the deadlock at the top, the process is repeated with the next lowest finisher and so on.
“It’s a bit confusing,” Vanderwell admits, but it’s a system that has been used in party leadership contests and seems to work well.
Speaking of selling memberships, those efforts were in full swing until the deadline of midnight on Nov. 4. That date having passed, anyone who is not a paid-up member and wants to vote is out of luck.