Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Tuesday, January 07, 2003

The polls are open

Well, the voting process for the new leader of the federal New Democrats has begun. The process is interesting. The winning candidate will need 50%+1, but unlike the artificial majority created in direct member votes when ballot two include only the top two finishers in ballot one (see the convention that elected Ralph Klein leader and Premier, among many others), there's potential for the sort of movement more expected in a delegated convention (see the Tory convention that first elected Joe Clark back in 1976 --- he came in third on ballot one, just a nose ahead of Flora McDonald in 4th, and well behind the frontrunners). I think that sort of negotiation and ballot-to-ballot movement makes the best results. But let me go over the "how" for a moment.

First of all, if you don't have a 2002 or 2003 membership now, you're out of luck. Read on if such things interest you, but not with any expectation of influencing the outcome.

All those active members will recieve a ballot (and most already have). Now, if you're of the type, you can prevote online or through the mail, first choice through sixth. When your first choice drops off the ballot, your vote is shifted to the highest choice remaining, and so on.

Of course, you can vote at the convention in Toronto. Had this choice been cheaper, I would have done it; the irony is that I'm travelling to Toronto the following day.

But the choice I'm finding most exciting is the "vote live on the internet" choice. Watch CPAC, see the convention live, and then go, ballot-by-ballot, and vote. Change your vote, even if your candidate is still on the ballot. In Calgary, several members will be doing this at what I'm starting to think of as a 'mini-convention'... we're meeting, watching collectively, talking, and lobbying one another. The way it's supposed to work. Voting as a community, not as individual members hiding in our homes. It's why delegated conventions are actually more democratic than direct vote conventions anyway... because democracy is about talking and listening, as well as about voting.

There's still a lot of movement among my friends in the party, and I only decided for certain my first ballot choice about three weeks ago. I want to go over the candidates, and give you my impressions. When I sat down to write this entry, I thought that's what I was doing... my mistake. I promised that I would do this overview a month ago. This time, for sure. But not this entry, and probably not today.

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