September 2020 Newsletter

The last time we sent out a newsletter was February 2020, and the world looked very different. We know that many in our community have faced significant challenges and loss during this difficult time and we want to thank all of you who have stepped up to provide support and solidarity to others in need.

The pandemic and the protests against racism and injustice that have defined the past few months have clearly highlighted the importance of making significant improvements to our democracy and voting system. We desperately need a voting system that does a better job of selecting the best people to hold our public offices precisely because we need the best people to lead us during challenging times like these. And we desperately need a system that does a better job of ensuring that city council better represents the full diversity of our population to ensure that the needs of all Torontonians receive the attention they deserve. 

In other words, we believe that we need ranked ballots now more than ever. Please see below for how you can help make this happen and some updates on our campaign.

Public Consultation Update

As we mentioned in our February newsletter, city staff had planned to conduct public consultations on whether to adopt ranked ballots for the 2022 election this past summer. Obviously the arrival of the pandemic meant that these consultations have been delayed. Nonetheless, city staff are still obligated to conduct these consultations, and we are expecting them to present a revised plan for doing so in the coming days. 

Once this plan is revealed, city council will vote on whether to accept this plan and proceed with whatever consultations city staff have proposed. It is our hope that staff will present a well-designed plan capable of mobilizing a large and representative cross-section of Toronto in a way that is appropriate for the current situation. And we hope that city council will endorse this plan as a matter of course. 

But we also realize that some opponents of ranked ballots may seek to use the pandemic and the disruptions that it has caused as an excuse to further delay these consultations and make adoption of ranked ballots for the 2022 election impossible. We want to make sure this does not happen. 

While we hope that the consultations move forward without any challenges, we may need your help to ensure that these consultations proceed. We’re monitoring the situation and, if necessary, we’ll be in touch in the days to come, so please watch this space.

New Resources

In preparation for the public consultations and what we hope is the final vote to adopt ranked ballots in the months to come, we’ve been hard at work preparing some new resources. These include a new “Introduction to Ranked Ballots” document which provides an accessible summary of what ranked ballots are, how they work, and why we should use them here in Toronto. The document also includes links to other resources and up-to-date in-depth research that demonstrates how ranked ballots have helped drive significant improvements elsewhere. We hope that you’ll take a look and share this resource with your networks. 

We’ve also created a “City Council Vote Tracker” which tracks how each member of city council has voted on all ranked ballot motions brought before city council and its committees, as well as whether they took RaBIT’s “Candidate Pledge” during the 2018 election campaign. We hope this chart is helpful to you as you hold your own representatives accountable.

Finally…

If you have not yet signed our petition, please consider doing so. If you have signed the petition, please consider sharing it on social media or asking one of your family or friends to consider signing. It may not seem like much, but the larger the petition grows, the more powerful it becomes.