What is plumping? Does the thought of checking off eight boxes for council candidates fill you with dread? Did you know that you don’t have to select all eight? Or that voting for less may actually be a good thing?
Often voters think that because there are eight positions for city council they need to pick eight names from the list of candidates. This is not true and can ultimately cause those you want to see elected to lose.
Counting off the votes:
Where there are multiple council positions, eight in Nanaimo for example, to be filled, the votes on each ballot are counted as being of equal value to each other. Even though a voter might have a distinct order of preference among the candidates there is no mechanism for such preferences to be shown on the ballot.
Candidates are elected consecutively according to who receives the largest number of votes. There is no predetermined percentage of the overall vote required to be gained before a candidate is elected, so a candidate can be elected with a much smaller percentage of the vote than under any other electoral system.
Plumping allows voters to vote for fewer than the number of candidates to be elected. It permits voters to concentrate their voting power on those they support rather than being constrained to also vote for those they oppose. Rather than voting for all eight council positions a voter can chose to vote for simply one, two or more if, they wish.