The Mayoral Nomination Race

I’m still undecided as to whom I will support in the upcoming Mayoral nomination vote (June 15th! It’s on your calendar, right?) but I’m beginning to worry about it’s all shaping up, organizationally.

There are 3 candidates – alphabetically, they are Al DeGenova, Raymond Louie and Gregor Robertson. In terms of momentum, from watching the media and talking to random people, Al seems likely to have the most new members out at the nomination meeting – but again, not terribly surprising, as I believe he’s the least “insider” of the three. Raymond’s an existing Vision councillor, Gregor’s an NDP MLA, but Al is a former NPA caucus member, and current Parks Board commissioner. While I’m not convinced that’s entirely fair, there appears to be some worry that if Al wins the party will be quite different than what it currently is.

My gut tells me that the supporter break down is like this: Gregor gets Yuppie/west side votes. Al gets business + youth votes, Raymond gets east/south-east votes. I doubt any of the 3 will get enough votes the first time to win outright in a 50+1% scenario. If there’s a run-off, my suspicion is that it will be between Al and then one of either Raymond or Gregor, simply because they seem the most likely to split the vote, and it seems quite likely that Al will have signed up more members than either Raymond or Gregor.

Now what happens at this point worries me – Primaries and these meetings are incredibly dull, even for fanatics like myself. The vast majority of people who come to this are not going to be hardcore politicos – they’re going to be drop-ins who’re there to support their mayor, and won’t want to spend 8 hours of their day at the meeting. They’re going to want to come in, vote, and then leave. If there’s a second vote, that’s going to take some serious time, and I suspect that could be problematic, as people will leave. I feel that it is critical that Vision come through this process looking strong, competent and united. This process, which could be hugely problematic if the vote is truly split, could damage the party if it takes too long, or people come out of it demoralized or even just confused. But I think there’s a pretty plain way to avoid this.

I’m hopeful that Vision will use something like the Supplamentary Voting system, like what is used in London’s mayoral Elections (to which I was just recently witness). Wikipedia explains it thus:

Under the Supplementary Vote voters express a first and second choice of candidate only, and if no candidate receives an absolute majority of first choice votes on the first count, all but the two leading candidates are eliminated and their votes redistributed according to the second choice vote to help determine a winner in a second and final round.

This system seems eminently fair for any single-seat election, and has the advantage of not requiring multiple ballots from the attendees to the nomination meeting. Which means that for the non-hardcore politicos, they can come, learn the system, probably listen to some speeches, then cast their votes and leave. They don’t need to stick around in case they have to vote again, because their preference is already stated. This should shorten the meeting for the vast majority of the attendees, which I think should be a clear goal for the Vision executive in this process – make it pain-free as possible for the party membership.

In the Vision nomination meeting, this would work as follows: After the first vote, one of the three candidates will be eliminated. At that point, the second-preference votes from the eliminated candidate would be added to the first place votes for the remaining candidates, and a winner will be declared.

And who will I vote for? I’m not sure. But I’m hopeful that I’ll find out more at the Nominee debate on May 21st. Which, annoyingly, is on Liam’s birthday, so I may have to miss it. Or not, as it will likely be held mostly after he’s gone to bed.

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