The new Nipissing-Timiskaming Federal Liberal Riding Association will hold its candidate nomination meeting March 6 at Memorial Gardens, and use a preferential ballot to decide the winner.
Association president Carol Lonsdale said the date and the ballot method were voted on at an executive meeting Saturday in North Bay.
But it still must approved and officially by the Federal Liberal party’s Ontario campaign chairman Karl Littler.
The announcement is expected Feb. 21.
Susan Church, Hugh McLachlan, Anthony Rota and Joe Sinicrope are the four candidates vying to become the candidate in the constituency, which now takes in part of the former Timiskaming-Cochrane riding.
McLachlan and Sinicrope initially were opposed to a preferential ballot while Church and Rota were in favour, Lonsdale said.
But McLachlan and Sinicrope told BayToday.ca they would go with the majority.
“I’m prepared to live with it,” Sinicrope said.
“That way people who’ve come in from out of town won’t have to hang around for all those hours.”
Too much money
Lonsdale said the association was considering renting electronic vote tabulators to speed up the process.
“But they cost $2,000 a piece to rent and that’s just far too much money,” Lonsdale said.
Preferential ballots require voters to indicate the order in which they prefer candidates, placing a ‘1’ beside their first preference, a ‘2’ beside their second preference, and so on for every possible choice.
The winner is the candidate who receives at least 51 per cent of the vote.
If there’s no clear winner, though, it triggers a counting process involving second and subsequent choices.
Process repeated until winner emerges
The ballots are arranged in piles according to the indicated first preferences, one pile for each candidate, and then counted.
The ballots containing the name designated as first choice by the fewest number of voters are redistributed into the other piles according to the names marked as second choice on these ballots. Those ballots in each remaining pile are again recorded. If more than half of the ballots are now in one pile, that candidate is elected. The process is repeated until a winner emerges.
With the date and voting method settled, at least one matter remains undecided: whether or not there will be any candidate debates.
“I certainly hope there will be debates, one in North Bay and one in the Northern part of the riding, so the issues can be discussed,” McLachlan said.
“And if the riding association doesn’t organize any perhaps the media will.”
Shore up their support
With the nomination meeting now less than a month away, candidates are beginning to shore up their support.
Former Nipissing riding president Gunther Buschmann has announced he’s joining the Rota camp, while Timiskaming-Cochrane MP Ben Serre said he’ll back Church.
McLachlan said Greg Ducharme, former vice-president of the Nipissing riding association, has decided to support him.