Five things to know about the Conservative party leadership race, ending Sunday

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OTTAWA — The federal Conservative party will announce the winner of its leadership contest on Aug. 23.

Nearly 269,500 people are eligible to vote for the new leader, which is roughly 10,000 more than the last time the party held a leadership vote in 2017.

Here are five things to know about how the winner will be elected.

Candidates

There are four names on the ballot: Leslyn Lewis, Erin O’Toole, Peter MacKay and Derek Sloan. To qualify as candidates, they had to raise $300,000 and get signatures from 3,000 people.

Mail-in ballots

The party has always used a mail-in ballot. The requirement is in its constitution. In the 2017 vote, about 90 per cent of ballots were submitted this way, and the remainder were cast in person at a convention. This time, it will be 100 per cent by mail, due to physical distancing requirements in place for COVID-19.

How votes are counted

While each member has one vote, the winner isn’t chosen based on those totals. Instead, each of the 338 federal ridings in Canada are allocated 100 points. How many points each candidate gets is determined by what percentage of the vote they get in a given riding. To win, a candidate will need 16,901 points.

Ranked ballots

It’s a ranked ballot. Party members can choose up to four people they’d like to see as leader, ranking them in order of preference from first to last. But even if they only choose one, that ballot will still be counted.

Rounds

Second choices matter. Ranked ballots are counted in rounds. If in the first round no candidate gets the majority, the person with the lowest number of points is removed from the ballot. Those who voted for that person will now have their ballots counted again, with their second choice now being noted. The process continues until a winner is selected.