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Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart poses for a photograph outside City Hall in Vancouver, on Oct. 22, 2018.DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

Vancouver’s new mayor says the massive 56-centimetre ballot and long lines during the weekend election he won are an argument for a ward structure in Canada’s third largest city to replace the at-large system now in use.

“I do think it’s really a product of the at-large electoral system that we really need to get rid of. We had the mile-long ballot that every candidate has to be on because of the at-large system,” Kennedy Stewart said in an interview on Monday.

“The system is past its sell-by date and we need to change it,” the former NDP MP elected mayor said on Saturday. Mr. Stewart, who will be sworn in on Nov. 5, ran as an independent.

Mr. Stewart said he will be watching for Vancouver results from a pending provincial referendum on proportional representation, but that electoral change in the city would require the approval of the British Columbia government.

In 2004, voters in Vancouver rejected the idea of revamping the municipal system in place and ruling out the wards system that every other major city in Canada has in which councillors represent specific neighborhoods. The No side received 54 per cent of ballots in the plebiscite.

Former Vancouver mayor Mike Harcourt, also an ex-B.C. premier, said the weekend voting situation was additional fodder for reviving the debate over a wards system.

Mr. Harcourt said in an interview on Monday that a wards system would offer an alternative to last weekend’s election with a ballot featuring 158 names seeking 27 positions.

“You would be able to have a sane ballot rather than 158 people on it,” Mr. Harcourt said.

He said the parks board and school board could be elected by wards as well. “There’s all sorts of ways you could do it,” he said.

“The best argument is it would assure every area of the city a representative on the council and allow citizens to have a less daunting voting experience,” he said, adding it would facilitate “human-scale” elections in terms of getting to know the candidates.

It took awhile for results to be tabulated in Vancouver on election night – the result of long lineups at polling stations. In some places, returning officers were taking people’s ballots in their “secrecy sleeves” – a cardboard folder that hides the vote choices until the ballot is fed into a tabulating machine.

In a pair of statements on Monday, city official Jhenifer Pabillano said all of the city’s 136 tabulating machines were deployed for the election. It took 22 seconds to cast each ballot since they were about 12 centimetres longer “than a typical ballot” because of the list of 158 names.

“While many voting locations were busy, there were many that were not busy and had no lineups,” one of the statements said. “Busy locations were busy based on where voters chose to vote. Over half of our locations were not busy.” At locations with lineups, voters were advised by staff of the length of the wait and alternative places to vote.

On Monday, Mr. Stewart’s victory was validated by his closest rival in the election.

In a statement, Ken Sim of the centre-right Non-Partisan Association (NPA) issued a statement conceding the race to Mr. Stewart.

Early Sunday morning, with Mr. Stewart only about 800 votes ahead of him as the results of the last poll were disclosed, Mr. Sim had declined to concede, saying he needed to consult NPA advisers.

“I apologize that it has taken time to acknowledge that Kennedy Stewart won the mayoral election," Mr. Sim said in his statement. “Given the close nature of the result, we believed that we owed it to our supporters and the city to ensure we had the correct result. This was not done to take away from Kennedy Stewart or his team’s accomplishment in any way.”

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