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Here’s how voting works in the Conservative Party of Canada leadership race

Of the 678,000 members who are eligible to vote in the contest, just over 350,000 have sent in ballots
A man is silhouetted walking past a Conservative Party logo before the opening of the Party’s national convention in Halifax on Thursday, August 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

The next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada will be named Sept. 10. Here’s a look at how the voting process works:

Mail-in ballots:

The party says of the 678,000 members who are eligible to vote in the contest, just over 350,000 have sent in their ballots with one week left before the deadline on Sept. 6.

Before ballots are counted, they have to be processed as valid, which the party is doing at a headquarters in downtown Ottawa.

Final results will be unveiled at a convention on Sept. 10.

The protocols around voting were set by a committee of Conservatives who were appointed to create the rules for the leadership race.

Ranked choices:

Unlike in a general election, when voters can only make one choice, the Conservative party picks its new leader through a ranked ballot system.

That means members will rank their choice for leader from first to last. There were initially six candidates in the race before Patrick Brown was disqualified by the party, so all six names will appear on the ballots.

The Conservatives have not said how they will deal with any possible votes for Brown.

A winner is chosen when a candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the points. If that doesn’t happen when ballots are first counted, the candidate who receives the lowest number of points will be eliminated.

When a candidate is eliminated, the ballots that had them at the top will be counted from their second choice — meaning whichever candidate was listed next will receive the vote when ballots are counted for a second time.

Voting will continue in rounds until one candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the points, making the second and third choices important.


The party’s membership base is split into 338 electoral districts in the same way the country is divided into federal ridings.

Each of these districts is assigned points. A recent change to how the Conservative party conducts leadership races stipulates that in order for a riding to be allotted 100 points, which is the maximum, it must have at least 100 members. Candidates are encouraged to sell party memberships to supporters living in areas that have low membership numbers.

Party rules indicate that candidates are assigned a point total depending on their percentage of the vote in each riding.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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