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The Ontario Liberal party begins voting for a new leader today. Here's how it works


Ontarians are a week away from learning who the new leader of the Ontario Liberal Party will be.

After an eight-month-long heated campaign with five debates, card-carrying members of the party will finally be able to cast their vote this weekend for the person they hope will be able to defeat Premier Doug Ford in the next election.

A historic 100,000 people are registered to take part in the vote, an all-time high for the party.

“It’s a race,” Interim Ontario Liberal Leader John Fraser told reporters this week, hinting that while some may think there is a front-runner, they still “got to turn out the vote.”

“I think it’s anybody’s guess,” he said. “We've had momentum since the last election. If you look inside the numbers, you can see things that are changing.”

Members can vote anytime between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at polling stations across the province. A full list of polling stations can be found on the Ontario Liberal Party’s website.

There will be no online voting.

How does voting work?

Members will choose their preferred candidates using a ranked ballot, and each constituency association will be allocated 100 points to be awarded to the candidate based on the proportion of support they receive.

There are 142 associations who will be taking part in the vote.

The results won’t be announced until Dec. 2.

On that day, all the ballots will be delivered via a “secure method” to be hand-counted by staff. In the first round, the last person on the ballot will be removed and all second place votes will be distributed among the other three candidates.

“So, what it means is you have to work really hard to get first place ballots,” Fraser said. “But then you have to work even harder to be number two.”

Two contenders for Liberal leadership have been trying to play this game for the last few weeks.

Liberal MP and former provincial cabinet minister Yasir Naqvi and Liberal MP Nate Erskine-Smith have asked supporters to choose the other as their second choice in a bid to prevent Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, the apparent front-runner, from winning.

It’s unclear what happens if there is a firm winner after the first ballot.

No longer the minivan party

Premier Doug Ford has often referred to the Ontario Liberals as the “minivan” party–an ode to the size of the political party after their disastrous 2022 election.

“We can't fit in the minivan anymore because we're nine,” he said in reference to Dec. 2, when a new leader and, therefore, additional party member is chosen.

“We've been doing this for five years. I own that minivan. It's like it's the workhorse of Ontario.”

Fraser said the party will just keep working hard to earn Ontarians’ trust and keep up the momentum from the campaign.

In addition to a record number of registered members, the party has paid off its $3 million debt from the 2022 election thanks to campaign donations.

'Was that a joke?'

The premier didn’t appear to be worried about the Liberal leadership race on Friday. When asked if he was worried about a possible win by Crombie, he responded by asking, “Was that a joke?”

“I say, ‘Bring it on.’”

Strategy for taking on Ontario’s premier has played a big part in the campaign and was the main focus of the final leadership debate on Nov. 19.

The next provincial election will take place in 2026. Top Stories

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