Councillor results streaming in from city hall, as election officials tally results of ranked ballots

Election volunteers return tabulators and ballot boxes to city hall. Memory cards from the tabulators need to be removed, sorted, and counted before any results are announced. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

As the results streamed in from municipalities across the province, London was forced to sit tight and wait a little longer for results of Canada’s first-ever ranked ballot election.

Mayoral candidate Ed Holder has a commanding lead with just over 33,000 votes, followed by Paul Paolatto, Tanya Park, and Paul Cheng rounding out the top four.

Several familiar faces will be returning to city hall, including councillor Michael Van Holst, who was re-elected in Ward 1, Mo Salih in Ward 3, Jesse Helmer in Ward 4, Maureen Cassidy in Ward 5, Phil Squire in Ward 6, Josh Morgan in Ward 7, and Stephen Turner in Ward 11.

Counting began again at 10 a.m. at city hall Tuesday, to decide the races in Ward 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, and 14.

Here’s a list of of results, so far: 

Ward 1: Michael Van Holst

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Ward 2: Shawn Lewis

Ward 3: Mo Salih

Ward 4: Jesse Helmer

Ward 5: Maureen Cassidy.

Ward 6: Phil Squire

Ward 7: Josh Morgan

Ward 8: Steve Lehman

Ward 9: Anna Hopkins

Ward 10: Paul Van Meerbergen

Ward 11: Stephen Turner

Ward 12: Elizabeth Peloza

Ward 13: Arielle Kayabaga

Ward 14: Steve Hillier

“I hope the next council is really focused on putting transit first, and making sure we get the right thing for London,” Squire told 980 CFPL following his victory.

In Ward 2, veteran city councillor Bill Armstrong was defeated by Shawn Lewis, while incumbent Virginia Ridley lost her Ward 10 seat to former city councillor Paul Van Meerbergen.

The polls closed at 8 p.m., Monday and vehicles carrying a pair of white boxes began streaming into the parking garage below city hall to unload their precious information cargo.

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The lineup wound its way through the garage, with volunteers at the front of the procession helping to carry tabulators and boxes into a bay.

Around 10:30 p.m., city officials tweeted that all tabulators and ballot boxes had been returned to city hall. The first batch of election results were released shortly before midnight.

“Memory cards are being removed from machines and placed in sealed bags. The count of the first complete ward will begin soon,” the tweet read.

As opposed to the usual first-past-the-post system, in which voters choose only one mayoral candidate and one council candidate, with a ranked ballot system, voters have the ability to rank three mayoral and council candidates by preference — the most preferred candidate is marked as the first choice, the least preferred the third choice.

If, when ballots are counted for the first time, no mayoral or council candidate wins a majority — 50 per cent plus one — the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is dropped off the ballot, and the second and third-place choices of that candidate’s supporters are then counted. This process continues until one candidate emerges with a majority.

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