The Conservative party uses ranked ballots for leadership races. Here's how it works.

·2 min read

OTTAWA — The Conservative Party of Canada will announce the winner of its leadership race at an event in Ottawa on Saturday night.

The party said it would be counting nearly 418,000 ballots out of some 678,700 eligible voters.

The first-ballots results are expected to be revealed around 7:30 p.m. eastern time, but the ranked-ballot system the party uses to elect its leader could mean it will take longer than that for someone to emerge victorious.

Here is how it works.

Ranked choices

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

That means members ranked their preferred 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 party says members who marked Brown as a first choice on their ballots will automatically have their votes go toward their second-choice candidates.

A candidate wins when they receive more than 50 per cent of the points. If that doesn't happen in the first count, the candidate who receives the lowest number of points will be eliminated.

When a candidate is eliminated, the votes they received from members who ranked them first will be transferred to the candidates those members ranked second.

If it is a tight battle, the process could be repeated up to three times, until only two candidates remain and one of them bests the other.


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.

In ridings that have fewer than 100 party members, there will be one point per vote cast. Candidates were encouraged to sell party memberships to supporters living in areas that have low membership numbers.

Candidates will be assigned a point total based on their percentage of the vote in each riding.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2022.

The Canadian Press