It is expected that by the time the first ballot starts on March 24 at the NDP Convention in Toronto, around 70% of members will have already voted.
That's two-thirds of the party members who will have voted either by mail or online. The information comes from two leadership candidates' representatives, those of Paul Dewar and Brian Topp, who said party officials, charged with keeping an eye on the volume of mail and online voting, told them recently.
According to a spokesperson for Paul Dewar, his team has already rented space at the Toronto Convention Centre for the preparation of a "phone bank" of names of members who will be on site to vote. The idea is to get out the vote, and he will certainly not be the sole candidate to do so.
Party members who have already voted were to mark their bulletin by numbering all candidates from 1 to 9 (the name of Romeo Saganash was on the ballot sent in the mail). That's "preferential balloting", that which will take place in Toronto starting with the first ballot on Friday until the next day, when the results will be announced, to be followed by a second ballot - if necessary - on Saturday, and so on.
While the last details are being hammered out for the Convention, The Hill Times has learned from Nick Nanos, of Nanos Research, that one crucial element in the choice of a new leader for the NDP remains the necessity for New Democrats to retain the level of support they've received in Québec in 2011. Unfortunately for them, it seems that level of support has come down quite a bit since the passing of Jack Layton.