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.
Toronto City Council's next meeting is scheduled for 26-27 November. At that meeting, the following motion will be presented:
City Council direct City Manager and the City Clerk to report to the Executive Committee by the end of Q2, 2020 on steps needed to conduct the 2022 election for Mayor and Councillors by ranked ballot, such report to include, but not be limited to:
- an update of previous reports focused on the use of ranked ballots by various municipalities, particularly in London, Ontario in 2018, as well as other comparable North American jurisdictions such as Minneapolis and San Francisco;
- public consultation and public education requirements of a successful transition to a ranked ballot system, including those contained in the Municipal Elections Act and associated MEA Regulations;
- technical aspects of transitioning to a ranked ballot system, such as compatible electronic tabulation technology and the technological solutions available to enable a cost effective implementation, such as renting technology from Elections Ontario;
- timelines and associated incremental costs required to implement a ranked ballot for the 2022 election.
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.
Just over 4 years ago, you made history. Today, we're asking you to do it again.
Back in 2015, it wasn’t even legal for municipalities in Ontario to use ranked ballots. But, by flooding the provincial government’s online consultation portal with supportive emails, supporters of voting reform like you pushed the government into changing the law. Because of that, three communities in Ontario have used, or soon will use, ranked ballots in their elections.
From now until 26 July, we have a similar opportunity here in Toronto.
Spring is finally in the air! Here at RaBIT HQ, we’re excited by the return of good weather, the important steps we’ve made towards our goal, and the opportunities that the coming months are bringing to push ranked ballots even closer to implementation. Keep reading for 3 important updates on our progress and how you can help to make voting better here in Toronto.
With Labour Day now in the rearview mirror, the intensity of Toronto’s election campaign is being dialed up. Thankfully, RaBIT has been hard at work for the past few months getting ready to make the adoption of ranked ballots a critical issue for voters during the home stretch of this campaign.
Check out the information below to find out more about 3 events that RaBIT is holding in the next few weeks and to learn how you can contribute to RaBIT’s work at this critical time.
Anyone who said that Toronto politics was dull may have to reconsider that position. Unexpectedly, we now find ourselves two months away from an election in which the very number of councillors that will be elected is the subject of a court case pitting the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario against each other.
Whatever the result of this case and however many councillors Toronto ends up electing on 22 October, these events only underline the critical importance of improving our democracy by switching to ranked ballots. Indeed, if city council is shrunk to 25 seats as seems likely, this increased concentration of power will only make improving the method by which our representatives are elected even more important.
RaBIT’s Candidate Pledge Campaign Has Launched!
As you have likely noticed, Toronto's municipal election campaign is well underway. While municipal elections are always important, this year’s vote is especially so. Not only will the mayor and council that we elect on October 22nd lead our municipal government for the next four years, they will also decide whether Toronto’s democracy takes an important step forward by switching to ranked ballots for the 2022 election. In other words, if we don’t elect enough pro-ranked ballot candidates in October, we’ll be stuck with the first-past-the-post voting system until at least 2026.
Because this election is so important, RaBIT is launching a special Candidate Pledge campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to provide voters who care about democratic reform with the information they need to vote for candidates committed to making the switch to ranked ballots for the 2022 election.
Rhys Goldstein is a voting systems enthusiast who has developed a number of educational resources on electoral reform. Rhys generally advocates for proportional representation, but believes ranked ballots could significantly improve municipal elections in Toronto. (Thumbnail photo credit: Jérôme Decq)
Not a fan of vote splitting? Then you’ll agree Toronto needs a new voting system. But what type of system should we adopt for our municipal elections? The answer is — at least at the present moment — that we should switch to ranked ballots, even if it doesn’t get us all the way to proportional representation. To understand why, read on…
Harout Manougian is a former RaBIT Board Member, currently studying at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2012, he was elected as a Trustee to the Toronto District School Board with 18.9% of the total vote. You can follow him on Twitter: @HaroutManougian.
On June 12th, 2018, citizens of the US state of Maine will be the first to use ranked ballots for a major statewide election in US history when they vote in the Democratic and Republican primary elections to select each party’s candidate for the gubernatorial election in November. Simultaneously, Mainers will be asked to vote in a referendum on whether they want to keep the ranked ballot system – despite having already made this decision in another referendum held only two years earlier. Indeed, the continued resistance by those currently in power to eliminating the “spoiler effect” has put the journey towards ranked ballots in Maine through many twists and turns. June 12th will be a pivotal day in that journey.