What a disappointing couple of weeks it’s been in Toronto for voting reform. On December 1, we went into Toronto’s Executive Committee full of hope that we were about to take the next step towards ranked ballots in Toronto. Instead, the committee voted against a motion to have city staff investigate creating a citizens' reference panel--a representative and independent resident-driven panel--to examine whether Toronto should switch to ranked ballots for future elections. Two weeks later, City Council voted against a similar motion by a margin of 22 to 17.
That’s right--after declaring last fall that they didn’t reject ranked ballots, but that they only wanted to make sure public consultation would be mandatory for their adoption, the Executive Committee & Council rejected … public consultation.
It’s become unfortunately clear that the majority of councillors this term are not interested in fairer, more inclusive elections in Toronto.
Reasons for Hope
We know other jurisdictions are adopting ranked ballots for their elections. In November, Maine became the first US state to adopt ranked ballots for its state and federal elections, joining cities like San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Oakland. Even Benton County in Oregon has recognized that first-past-the-post elections produce unfair and unrepresentative results, and have chosen ranked ballot elections.
In other words, there are reasons for hope. Even in Toronto, we’re only a few votes away. So close, in fact, we have politicians worried about change. We know as advocates, momentum is on our side. In Toronto, across Canada, across North America, people are demanding a real voice in their governments, starting with the way they vote.
In the weeks and months to come, we’ll be in touch to ask for your help as the fight for ranked ballots shifts into higher gear. A better, more representative government is desperately needed in Toronto, and we aren’t giving up. We’ll need door-knockers and canvassers, we’ll need people to share our content on social media, and most of all we’ll need each and every one of you to spread our message by word of mouth with your friends, family, and acquaintances.
We know that a strong and growing majority of Torontonians already support ranked ballots. Now we need to mobilize that support and use it to put pressure on City Council like never before.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already signed our petition, please do so. If there is one thing councillors understand, it’s numbers. Demonstrating how much support we have by adding more and more names to this petition is the easiest, but also one of the most powerful, ways you can help.
As we ramp up our activities in the months to come, we’ll also need new resources for things like lawn signs and other campaigning materials. Financial contributions to the cause are always welcome. $50, $20, $5 - it all helps.
It’s time to raise our voices across Toronto -- and we can’t do it without you!
Thank you for your commitment to better elections in Toronto.