So, you may have already heard, but we did it.
That’s right, on Wednesday, 27 November, Toronto City Council voted, by a 14 to 11 margin, in favour of Councillor Shelley Carroll’s motion to learn more about ranked ballots.
Even more exciting, however, is the fact that in addition to directing staff to prepare the report we’ve been requesting for the past year, Councillor Carroll’s motion went even further and directed city staff to begin the process that the Municipal Elections Act requires before a switch to ranked ballots is legally possible. This includes providing city council and the public with certain specific information (such as how much it would cost to implement ranked ballots in Toronto) as well as a set of minimum public consultation requirements (including the holding of an informational “open house” and a public meeting).
This is pretty amazing because, once these steps are completed, we are just one vote at city council away from Toronto adopting ranked ballots for its municipal elections. But it also means that we really need to step up our game.
While we managed to win the vote on 27 November, councillors were actually only voting on whether to gather information about ranked ballots and consult the public. This is a necessary step, but not a decisive one. Unless we are able to mobilize a strong showing at the public consultations which will begin soon, it's quite possible that many of the councillors who voted to learn more about ranked ballots last week will conclude that there simply is not enough public support to take the next, critical, step and make the change to ranked ballots.
We're already working on plans for how to organize for this next step and we'll be sharing those plans in the new year. In the meantime, we'd also love to hear your ideas on how to mobilize the public. We know that we haven't always been the best at integrating new volunteers into our work, but we're committed to changing this.
Whatever shape our plans end up taking, though, we know that we have our work cut out for us and that we’re going to need your support like never before. We hope you're ready for this final, big push.
Finally, we want to close this message by expressing our profound gratitude. We’ve never been this close to winning voting reform in Toronto before, and its because of you and your support. So thank you, very, very much.