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19th of October 2018

Canada



Random draw determines order on Vancouver's election ballot

All 158 candidates' names were pulled from a squeaky red raffle drum in council chambers

When Vancouver voters head to the polls Oct. 20, the first name they will see on the list of candidates for mayor will be Jason Lamarche, following a draw Friday at city hall to randomize this election’s ballot.

All 158 candidates’ names were pulled from a squeaky red raffle drum in council chambers, where at least a dozen of those who are running came to watch, in person, how luck would rank their names on the ballot.

Each name was written on a piece of paper, folded, and then drawn by a city staffer not representing any candidate. Separate draws were held for mayor, council, park board and school board.

“The goal is to create a more even playing field for candidates,” city manager Sadhu Johnston said.

Jason Lamarche reacts to being randomly drawn as the first name on the Mayor’s ballot for the Vancouver municipal election. Gerry Kahrmann / PNG

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Lamarche said he was grateful for whatever “cosmic” force put his name at the top of the list, which he hopes will help him gain recognition and a few votes on his shoestring campaign. If elected mayor, he would use his executive powers to put a cap on rent at $500 for one-bedroom units and $1,000 for two-bedroom units.

“I’m in this election to represent the people of Vancouver and this gives me another opportunity to talk about the core issue which, for me, is rent control and dealing with the true affordability crisis in Vancouver,” he said.

Independent Maynard Aubichon, whose name would have been first on an alphabetized list of mayors, will instead be sixth, while Coalition Vancouver’s Wai Young, who would have been last, will now be 13th.

The 10 council candidates whose names will be listed first on the ballot include, in order of appearance, Marlo Franson, Christine Boyle, Nycki Basra, Melissa De Genova, Elizabeth Taylor, Adrian Crook, Pete Fry, John Spark, Justin Caudwell and Francoise Raunet.

It is the first time since 1993 that Vancouver candidates’ names were listed randomly, rather than alphabetically.

This year, there are 21 people running for mayor, 71 for city council, 33 for park board commissioner and 33 for school trustee. Voters will elect a mayor, 10 councillors, seven commissioners and nine trustees. Advance voting begins Oct. 10 and ends on Oct. 17, 2018.

In April, Coun. Andrea Reimer put forward the motion to randomize the ballot and it was approved by council in June.

A staff report to council stated that numerous electoral studies suggest ordering candidates alphabetically undermines the principle of fair elections.

“Voters without well-defined preferences are more likely to select the top-listed names on ballots due to cognitive fatigue,” the report said.

neagland@postmedia.com

twitter.com/nickeagland

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