On April 4, 2016, the Ontario Government announced historic new legislation which, if passed, would give Toronto and all of Ontario’s other 443 towns and cities the ability to abandon our outdated and unfair first-past-the-post voting system, and switch to ranked ballots.
We have never been closer to getting ranked ballot elections in Toronto.
Immediately following the announcement, the Toronto Star once again endorsed ranked choice voting for Toronto, saying “it's more fair and less polarizing," that it reduces negative campaigning, gives newcomers more opportunity to win office, and gives voters an enhanced sense that their vote matters.
CBC News quoted RaBIT Co-Chair Katherine Skene talking about ranked ballots improving diversity in representation on city councils.
RaBIT founder Dave Meslin was invited to discuss ranked ballots alongside Toronto Councillor Justin Di Ciano, who lead the charge against ranked ballots last fall, on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.
What Does Bill 181 Say?
The full text of Bill 181, the Municipal Elections Modernization Act, 2016 has been released, and it “give[s] municipalities the authority to choose to use ranked ballot voting, beginning in the 2018 municipal elections.” RaBIT will be following the process closely, as many crucial details will be determined in legislative committee, and by regulation after the bill is passed.
How Can You Help?
Bill 166, the Toronto Ranked Ballot Elections Act, 2014, died prematurely when the election was called. Now is a critical time to build a groundswell of support, to make sure Bill 181 passes quickly, giving Toronto Council the opportunity to decide whether we will use ranked ballots in 2018.
Thankfully, the RaBIT campaign continues to enjoy strong support from Mayor John Tory, and a large number of Councillors.
Of course, as we get closer to making ranked ballots a reality in Toronto, resistance will increase in some quarters. We need to be ready. That’s where supporters come in! In the next few days and weeks, RaBIT will be calling on our supporters to take action and ensure Bill 181 passes quickly. We might only have a few days’ - or even hours’ - notice when things start moving, and hope you will join us for exciting new volunteer opportunities when the time comes.
Spread the Word
Right now, you can show Ontario, and Toronto Council, how important Bill 181 is to Ontario:
Give What You Can
Successful campaigns also need funding, to move forward. If you are able to chip in $5, 10, $20, $50, or more - whatever you can afford - to move Bill 181 through the Ontario legislature quickly, now is the time to bring the debate back to our community and Toronto City Hall.
RaBIT is run entirely by volunteers, and we need funding to do everything from organizing events in the community and at Queen’s Park, to printing written materials for the media and for lobbying, to making banners, posters, and t-shirts, and to our dream project of setting up new neighbourhood organizing teams, from the four corners of the city, to lead this campaign into the future.
One Big Step For Ranked Ballots
For everyone interested in making Toronto’s elections more fair, friendly, diverse, and inclusive, April 4 was a day to celebrate! While there is still much work to do, we have never been closer to getting ranked ballot elections in Toronto, thanks to you - the supporters of ranked ballots who have continued to make this possible.
"This is an exciting first step. If the province can make the ranked ballot option a reality for cities quickly, Torontonians will have the chance to decide if our next election will be another fear-based campaign about vote-splitting, or an issues-focused campaign where we can vote for the candidates we want".
- Sarah Rimmington, longtime volunteer and board director