On Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, Toronto City Council’s Executive Committee will consider a staff report focused on electoral reform. This report says a lot. But it’s especially important for you to know what it says about ranked ballots.
The city says that ranked ballots are not feasible for the 2018 election. This is disappointing, most of all because City Council and Torontonians have been advocating for this change since 2012. We want Toronto to lead the change when it comes to using ranked ballots — we know you do too.
The report lays out a clear path to realizing ranked ballot elections in Toronto. The question for the Executive Committee is now whether their brave enough to move forward.
City staff emphasize the need for public consultation in the report — and we couldn’t agree more. In October 2015, City Council decided to withdraw its support of ranked ballots against the wishes of Torontonians. Will they decide on Thursday that our voices deserve to be heard when it comes to our voting system?
We’ll be at Executive Committee on Thursday, and we hope you’ll consider coming too. We’ll be pushing for the Executive Committee to move forward with ranked ballots, even if it’s for the 2022 election. We believe that the first step in this direction is launching a citizens reference panel — a group of everyday voters, informed by experts in electoral systems who will be tasked with determining whether and how Toronto should make the switch to ranked ballots.
How can you help?
As a grassroots organization, we’ve been successful because of you, our supporters. Here’s what you can do before this Thursday:
Email the Executive Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy in your city councillor. They need to know that ranked ballots are important to you — and that we’re watching them to make sure they do the right thing.
Show your support at Executive Committee. Depute in favour of ranked ballots if you feel comfortable, or come and show your support to those that are. The 13 people that make up the committee — including Mayor John Tory — will determine whether City Council even gets to consider this report.
Sign our petition. It may not seem like much, but our last petition — which ultimately garnered almost 9,000 signatures — was instrumental in convincing the provincial government to change the law and allow municipalities to use ranked ballots. We believe that this new petition will be just as important in convincing City Council to make the right choice.
We are now closer than ever to getting ranked ballots for Toronto. Last November, ranked ballots weren’t even legal. That changed when we convinced the province to change the law. Prior to a few weeks ago, city staff had never even studied how to implement a ranked ballot election. Now they have. With all these pieces falling into place, we are now able to demand our City Council make a real commitment to making our elections more fair, diverse, inclusive, and friendly. We hope we can count on you to help us.