Help us win at Toronto City Council

A few weeks ago, we told you about a meeting of Toronto City Council’s Special Committee on Governance. We told you that this meeting was an opportunity for councillors to direct city staff to write a report that would provide city council and Torontonians with all the information needed to make an informed decision on whether to switch to ranked ballots for the 2022 election.

When it came time to vote, however, there was a tie at the committee meeting, with Councillors Carroll and Perks voting in favour of the report and Councillors Crawford and Holyday voting against the report. Unfortunately, a tie means the motion is defeated.

While a setback, this vote is not the end of the road. That’s because the results of the committee’s deliberations must now be approved – or amended – by the entire City Council. This will happen at the next council meeting which is taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday, 26-27 November.

We should be able to win this vote. Councillor Carroll has already confirmed that she will again move a motion to push ranked ballots forward at the council meeting. And a majority of Toronto City Council has already pledged to implement ranked ballots for the 2022 election. Moreover, 11 councillors have already confirmed they will vote in favour of Carroll’s motion at the next council meeting.

But, we can’t count our chickens before they are hatched. We still need two more votes to reach a majority. And we need to make sure that every one of the councillors who has committed to voting is present at the council meeting to do so. We know that those who oppose ranked ballots will be.

So please, help us get over this critical next hurdle by:

  1. Sending Mayor Tory (mayor_tory@toronto.ca) an email asking him to commit to voting to learn more about ranked ballots on 26/27 November. We’ve provided a sample email you can use below.
  2. If your councillor has not committed to vote for ranked ballots on 26/27 November, please include them on the same email (find their email here).
  3. If your councillor has committed to voting to learn more (i.e. is one of Councillors Carroll, Perks, Layton, Cressy, Bailão, Matlow, Wong-Tam, Filion, Bradford, McKelvie or Ainslie) please send them a thank you email to let them know how important this vote it. (find their email here)
  4. If you haven’t already done so, please sign our petition. It would be great if we could hit 2,100 signatures before the council meeting.

We’re know it’s a bit of a pain to keep sending these sorts of emails to politicians. But many of them only seem to act if they know people care about an issue. And, if we win this vote, we are only one more vote away from voting reform here in Toronto. Please help us take this critical step.

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To: mayor_tory@toronto.ca; your councillor (find their email here)

Cc: info@rabit.ca

Subject: Please vote to learn more about ranked ballots

Mayor Tory and Councillor XXXXX,

I’m writing today because I would like to voice my support for Toronto moving to a ranked ballot voting system in 2022.

Ranked ballots make sure that the candidate with the most support actually wins an election. Unfortunately, our current system cannot be counted on to deliver even this most fundamental democratic result. But beyond making our system fairer, ranked ballots would also do much more for Toronto’s democracy and politics. By ending vote splitting, ranked ballots would help to open up candidate selection and help diverse and non-traditional candidates get a fairer shake. This would help make our city council much more representative of our wonderful city.

Ranked ballots will also encourage candidates to run more consensus-driven 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 can improve public engagement with politics by making it more welcoming and creating a more positive atmosphere.

As great as ranked ballots are, however, I’m not even asking you to implement them yet. All I’m asking is that you vote to direct city staff to write a report that will provide council and Torontonians with all the information they need to make an informed decision on whether to adopt a ranked ballot system. I don’t think this is a very big request and I hope you will take this one small step towards making voting better in our city.

Thank you for your time and consideration,