Party members who have a valid membership as of Friday will be able to vote.
They are expected to receive their ballots in the mail sometime in late July or August and the due date for when they must be returned will likely fall in early September, as the new leader will be named at a convention centre in downtown Ottawa on Sept. 10.
The protocols around voting are decided by a committee of Conservatives who were appointed to set the rules around the leadership race.
Unlike in a general election, when voters can only make one choice, the Conservative party picks its new leader through a ranked balloting system.
What that means is members will rank their choice for leader from one to six, as there are that many candidates in the race.
A winner is chosen when a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the points. If that doesn’t happen when ballots are first counted, the candidate who receives the lowest number of points will be eliminated. Whichever candidate was listed as being the second choice under theirs will receive the eliminated candidate’s votes when ballots are counted for a second time.
Voting will continue in rounds until a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the points, which is why those running not only want to be the first choice of members, but also listed as their second and third choices.
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 change made last year to how the Conservative party conducts leadership races stipulates that in order for a riding to be allotted the full 100 points, which is the cap, it must have at least 100 members. That means candidates are encouraged to sell party memberships to supporters living in areas that have low membership numbers.
According to party rules, candidates are assigned a point total depending on their percentage of the vote in each riding.
By Stephanie Taylor