Preferential Ballots in Manitoba

In the early 20th century, Manitoba became a leader in electoral reform.   Shortly after the general strike, the government introduced preferential ballots in Winnipeg.  

In 1920, a proportional ranked ballot system known as the single transferable was used to elect the 10 legislators for Winnipeg, allotting a seat to each party per 9% of the vote they got.

In 1924, a second electoral reform bill was passed and the alternative vote was used in 1927 for all of the ridings in Manitoba outside of Winnipeg. 

This delivered 30 years of stable governments, including cooperative coalitions during the war.  Because of the less adversarial nature of the alternative vote, cooperation in the legislature was common and helped Manitoba through the great depression.

Under preferential balloting, progressives, independents, and a diverse background of politicians were elected including the first female legislature in 1920.

Prior to the 1955 election, the government replaced the alternative vote with first past the post so as reduce competition in the next election.  The voters punished them, but the alternative vote was never brought back.