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.
Did you know that May 1st is the first day that candidates in the 2018 municipal election can file their nomination papers and start their campaign? That’s right, the 2018 campaign is about to get real. Please see below for 3 updates on how you can contribute to RaBIT’s mission to ensure that this campaign results in a city council that will vote to adopt ranked ballots for the 2022 election.
A little while ago, I participated in my first monthly RaBIT meetup - or "RaBIT Gathering", as I like to call it. The meetup started with each participant speaking briefly about why they were there. There was authenticity and enthusiasm all around, so I suggested we contribute our stories to the RaBIT blog and share our positive energy with the rest of the city.
My reason for attending the meetup goes all the way back to March 6th, 2014. This was the day the Ontario Legislature passed second reading of the motion to change the Municipal Elections Act so that Toronto City Council could change our city's voting system.
With spring springing and Easter arriving, we seem to be seeing rabbits (or at least bunnies) everywhere these days... which made us realize that it was time for another RaBITnewsletter. Please see below for three updates on RaBIT’s growing campaign to make sure that 2018 is the pivotal turning point for voting reform in Toronto.
One of the things we want to do with RaBIT’s new blog is to provide regular Torontonians with an opportunity to have their voice heard. This post, written by new RaBIT supporter Lynda Chubak, is the first in what will be a recurring series of such posts.
On February 28, I attended my first RaBIT event, the Ranked Ballots Roadshow. Though I had been loosely following this grassroots initiative for a few years, growing concerns over the slow pace of improvements to the city and a lack of diversity on City Council finally pushed me out the door to learn more.
I came to hear first-hand how our municipal democracy could be made better. Better for me means at least two things. First, I want change that creates a real possibility that more women and, generally, more people who better reflect Toronto’s diversity will be elected. Second, it should no longer be almost a given that an incumbent candidate will win elections in their ward. New voices should have a fighting chance.
In our first blog post we explained how our current voting system is seriously flawed and how a ranked ballot system would be better. We also mentioned some of the benefits that ranked ballots offer compared to our current system. They include:
- An end to vote splitting
- Better choices for voters
- Less negative campaigning
- Drastic reductions in strategic voting
- Election winners that actually have majority support
You can check out a brief overview of these benefits here, but we also wanted to provide a more comprehensive explanation of how ranked ballots help to produce these benefits. So, in this post, we examine how ranked ballots end vote splitting, why that’s a good thing, and explore how this leads to voters getting better choices at the ballot box. In a later post we’ll explain how ranked ballots decrease negative campaigning, drastically reduce strategic voting, and ensure that election winners actually have majority support.
Together, these posts will lay out our “theory of change” for how ranked ballots will improve Toronto’s politics. In other words, these posts will show how using ranked ballots will shift the incentives and systems that currently structure how politics happens in our city for the better.