Help us win on Friday

This coming Friday (1 November) at 9.30am, the Special Committee on Governance will hold what will likely be its last meeting. Many of you will recall that in the summer, we asked you to help send this committee a message: that council must live up to its commitment to implement ranked ballots by 2022.

We were incredibly successful in sending that message. Almost 90% of all the email correspondence received by the committee was from supporters of ranked ballots asking the committee to move this issue forward (see page 8). Now, it looks like we need your help once again.

Since this committee was formed, we’ve had one request of them. We want them to ask city staff to produce a report that provides Torontonians and City Council with the information they will need – including likely costs, lessons learned in other jurisdictions like London, Ontario, and best practices for engaging the public – in order to make a fully informed decision when council votes on whether to adopt ranked ballots for the 2022 election.

Given that the Special Committee on Governance was formed to figure out how Toronto’s governance should be re-organized, we thought this would be a request the committee would be happy to grant. But here we are, 9 months later, at the final meeting of this committee, and they still haven’t done so.

We’re asking you to help us show this committee that they need to respect the pledge taken by the majority of City Council and do their part to help move Toronto towards ranked ballots for the 2022 election. There are 4 ways you can help:

  1. Sign up to depute (aka speak) at the committee’s upcoming meeting by emailing gvc@toronto.ca. Anyone can do it and if you do, you’ll be given 5 minutes to tell them committee what you think. RaBIT will have a few people there making deputations and it would be great if you could join us. If you do sign up, please let us know by emailing info@rabit.ca. If you’d like, we can give you background information to help with your remarks.
  2. Email the members of the committee (see below for the names and emails of the committee members and some sample language that you can use). When you do so, please copy info@rabit.ca, your own councillor (if they aren’t a member of the committee – find their email here) and John Tory (mayor_tory@toronto.ca).
  3. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and like, retweet, and share our posts. We’ll be quite active in the run up to the meeting on Friday and any attention we can generate will help us convince the committee to move forward.
  4. If you haven’t already done so, please sign our petition. It would be great if we were able to tell the committee on Friday that over 2,000 Torontonians have signed it.

It’s been a long and winding path to get here, but if we are successful on Friday, it’ll be another big step towards getting ranked ballots for the 2022 election. We hope you’ll help.

The RaBIT Team (sample email text below)

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To: councillor_holyday@toronto.ca; councillor_perks@toronto.ca; councillor_bailao@toronto.ca; councillor_carroll@toronto.ca; councillor_crawford@toronto.ca;

Cc: mayor_tory@toronto.ca; gvc@toronto.ca; Your own councillor (find them here)

Subject: Please move ranked ballots forward on Friday

Councillors,

I hope this note finds you well. I’m writing today because I would like to voice my support for Toronto moving to a ranked ballot voting system in 2022. I think this is an important move for Toronto, especially now that the number of councillors has been reduced to only 25.

Ranked ballots make sure that the candidate with the most support actually wins an election. Unfortunately, our current system cannot even be counted on to deliver this most basic democratic result. But beyond this simple improvement to the fundamental fairness of our system, ranked ballots would also do so much more for Toronto’s democracy and politics. By ending vote splitting, they would help to open up the process by which candidates are selected before the start of the campaign, thereby helping diverse and non-traditional candidates get a fairer shake. This would help to improve the representativeness of city council a great deal.

Ranked ballots will also help to incentivize candidates to run more consensus-building and issue-focused campaigns by reducing the effectiveness of negative and divisive campaign tactics. Because of this, and because they allow voters to vote their true preferences – instead of forcing them to vote against the candidate they fear the most – ranked ballots will help improve public engagement with politics by making it a more welcoming and creating a more positive atmosphere.

Critically, though, on Friday, I’m not even asking you to make a final decision to adopt a ranked ballot system. All I’m asking you to do is to vote to ask city staff to do some research and produce a report that provides city council – and the general public – with all the information they need to make a decision on whether to adopt ranked ballots in Toronto for our 2022 election when it comes time to make that decision. I don’t think this is a very big request and I hope you will take this one small step.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 


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