Municipal election: Vancouver candidate names to be listed in random order on ballot

VANCOUVER City Council has voted to list mayoral, councillor, and Park Board commissioner candidates in random order instead of alphabetical order on Vancouver’s municipal election ballots.

The update to the election by-law was requested by Council to create a more even playing field for candidates. Research has shown many voters are more likely to vote for those listed first on a ballot, meaning that candidates at the top of an alphabetical list are perceived to have an advantage over those lower down.

As this will be the first year Vancouver voters will vote with a random order ballot, Council has approved $235,000 for strategies to prepare voters for the change.

The confirmed randomized list of names will be circulated well ahead of the election, supported by additional communications to ensure voters feel informed and know what to expect at the voting place. Voters will also be strongly encouraged to vote in advance in anticipation of longer vote times expected on Election Day.

As well, more staff and more voting booths will be available at voting locations wherever possible, to offset longer vote times and ensure assistance for those who may need extra support to vote.

The City does not have control over the list order of candidates for school board trustees. The school board has authority under the School Act, and the City’s Election Office will seek direction from the board on their desired order of names for the 2018 election ballot.

For more information, read the full report to Council: