News   Jul 12, 2024
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News   Jul 12, 2024
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Time for Ranked Ballots

From link.
Just a few minutes ago, near the end of a marathon three-day city council meeting, we won a critical victory. We won’t be getting ranked ballots as quickly as we had hoped, but thanks to you, we successfully defeated a last ditch attempt to stop moving ranked ballots forward.​
To understand what happened and where we go from here, please see below.​
But before you do, let us say that the outpouring of support from you, the supporters of ranked ballots, in the past 10 days, was simply amazing. We have never seen anything like it. Without you, those who oppose ranked ballots were looking like they would be able to use the pandemic to cancel our victory from last year and send us back to square one.​
Instead, while we have been delayed, our movement has shown itself to be more solid and powerful than was previously believed. In the past week, we put council on notice that ranked ballots really are coming and will not be stopped. In that sense, we believe that the likelihood that a ranked ballot election in Toronto will happen has actually increased, even if it has been delayed.​
What happened?
Back in November 2019, after years of trying, we managed to get City Council to pass a motion directing city staff to begin the public consultations that are legally required before the city can switch to ranked ballots. Then the pandemic hit and, in late March, for a variety of understandable COVID-related reasons, staff suspended work on these consultations.​
Six months later, the City Clerk provided city council with an update on its election preparedness ahead of the 2022 elections. In this update, they detailed how the pandemic had delayed their work on advancing ranked ballots and recommended that all future work on ranked ballots cease. Staff provided a number of reasons for this recommendation. We outlined our response to this recommendation, and why we disagreed with it, here. Nevertheless, last week, City Council’s Executive Committee considered staff’s recommendation, and by a margin of 7-1, voted to accept it.​
This was a setback, but we knew that the real decision would be taken at the city council meeting a week later. So we focused all our energy on mobilizing support for ranked ballots around this council meeting. We have never seen such a strong response with hundreds of supporters contacting the mayor and their councillors asking them to support ranked ballots.​
This mobilization obviously caught Council’s attention because when Councillor Shelley Carroll introduced a motion earlier today to cancel the Clerk's recommendation and continue consultations, it gained wide support and passed on a vote of 18 in favour to 6 opposed.​
What’s Next?
Unfortunately, we were not able to convince enough members of council that a ranked ballot election in 2022 was still viable. But, Councillor Carroll’s successful motion enables city staff to begin consultations once they have determined that they have sufficiently resolved the obstacles identified in the Clerk’s report to allow them to begin consultations. It also requires them to conclude these consultations by 2023 at the latest, well in advance of the 2026 election.​
This was not our best case scenario. It means we will have one more election with our current system and delays our progress on consultations.​
But, in addition to the fact that consultations will continue, this motion provides us with other opportunities. The increase in strength demonstrated by our movement is one of these. Indeed, many opponents to ranked ballots on city council now seem almost resigned to the fact that they will be implemented eventually.​
Another is the fact that the Clerk will now have all the time they need - indeed much more time than they had pre-pandemic - to do a thorough and comprehensive public education and consultation process. This will provide us with an incredible opportunity to further educate the public, really mobilize around these consultations, and show city council just how strong support for this move is ahead of the final decisive vote.​
RaBIT’s board of directors will be meeting in the coming days to begin developing our plans for how to move forward. In addition to the support already mentioned, we have also seen a new upsurge in supporters wanting to volunteer and so these plans will include new opportunities for members of our community to help push our movement forward. Please watch this space and we will be back in touch soon.​
Thank you
Thank you again for your support. While not the best possible result, we have managed to defend the consultations we fought hard for and to ensure that Council is still only 1 vote away from moving to a ranked ballot election. We remain committed to our objective and hope we can continue to rely on your steadfast support. It is clearer now than ever, that eventually, we will win.​
Ford government moves to scrap ranked ballot elections for Ontario municipalities

From link.

The provincial government announced Tuesday that they plan to revoke the power granted to Ontario municipalities to hold ranked ballot votes for municipal elections.

In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, the province said that it would move to amend the Municipal Elections Act to making voting “consistent” across federal, provincial and municipal elections.

Advocates for ranked ballot voting have long argued that it better represents the will of the electorate compared to the “first past the post” system traditionally used in Canadian elections and helps make the system more equitable and inclusive.

Ranked ballots allows a voter to list their candidates in order of preference. Candidates who receive the fewest votes as the top pick are dropped following the first round of counting and the vote of anyone who selected those candidates as their top pick is then transferred to their second pick and so on until a winner emerges.

In the “first past the post system,” the candidate who wins the greatest number of votes is the winner. The system means that candidates who least represent the will of most voters are sometimes elected because parties with similar ideologies split the vote. Proponents of the “first past the post” system argue that it is simpler to understand and prevents fringe candidates, some of whom might have radical ideas, from getting elected.

Following years of lobbying, the government of former premier Kathleen Wynne amended the Municipal Elections Act to allow municipalities to decide for themselves whether they wanted to adopt the voting system. The 2018 municipal elections were the first time that municipalities were able to use ranked balloting. While it was not widely adopted, it was used for the first time in London, Ont.

Toronto was working toward the possibility of a ranked ballot election in 2022. However a report last month by the city clerk advised that the COVID-19 pandemic had made much of the preparatory work impossible and suggested 2026 as a more realistic target.

The move to scrap ranked ballot elections was announced as part of the “Supporting Ontario's Recovery Act,” new legislation meant to shield essential workers from additional liability associated with health measures around the pandemic.
That is BS!

Is Ford trying to protect conservative councilors or something?

It's like the gerrymandering and electoral college system in the States, where the right-wingers want to be able to control the election results.

The NDP and Liberals, centrists and left-wingers, may have to decide among themselves in each provincial riding/municipal ward who should against the (Progressive) Conservatives (right-wingers), if the ban goes through.

Will Doug Ford ban ranked ballots from municipal elections? Maybe

From link.

Surprise provincial legislation that would claw back London’s ability to use ranked ballot voting in its civic elections was met with outrage by local politicians and supporters of electoral reform on Tuesday.​
London was the only city to adopt ranked ballots after the power was granted to cities, debuting the change in the 2018 municipal election by giving voters the chance to rank their first, second and third choice of candidates for mayor and ward councillor.​
But in a move that one political scientist said continues a provincial trend of “micromanaging” municipal affairs, Premier Doug Ford’s government announced changes to Ontario’s election law on Tuesday, tacked onto COVID-19 recovery bill. The proposed legislation would nix the option of ranked ballot voting for cities across the province.​
“It’s funny, because if it’s good enough for the (Progressive) Conservative party, why isn’t it good enough for municipalities?” asked Zack Taylor, a Western University politics professor, referring to the use of ranked ballots by many political parties to elect their leaders, including Ford’s own party, which elected him using that system.​
“It certainly fits with an ongoing pattern, not just with the Conservative government, but the previous Liberal government, of micromanging municipal affairs when there’s no clear provincial interest. I mean, why do they care how a municipality chooses to run an election?” Taylor said.​
A provincial spokesperson said repealing ranked ballot powers would “bring predictability to municipal elections, at a time when Ontarians are focused on their health and safety.”​
“At a time when municipalities are focused on protecting the health and safety of their residents and are facing decreased revenues as a result of COVID, proceeding with costly ranked ballot elections does not make sense for taxpayers,” a spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing wrote in an e-mailed statement.​
Implementing ranked ballots for the 2018 election cost Londoners about $250,000 more than the previous races when traditional first-past-the-post voting was used, but some of the bill was for additional voting machines given the city’s growing population — a cost that would have been incurred either way.​
“The idea that somehow the province needs to protect municipalities from making their own spending decisions is an odd one, given that these are democratically elected officials making decisions,” Taylor said.​
“Clearly somebody at the provincial level doesn’t really like ranked ballots and wants to get rid of them.”​
The changes are part of a bill focused on a legal protections for workers and organizations that follow COVID-19 safety rules.​
Several other cities, including Kingston and Toronto, were debating a shift to ranked ballots in the 2022 municipal election.​
London West MPP Peggy Sattler, the NDP’s critic for democratic reform, ripped Ford’s government for overstepping.​
“Once again we see Doug Ford meddling in municipal elections and overriding the ability of locally elected bodies to make their own decisions. It’s completely inappropriate and Ford should stop,” she said.​
Local politicians also expressed concern.​
“I’m very disappointed to hear this news,” Ward 7 Coun. Josh Morgan said, a strong proponent of ranked ballots.​
“Whether you support ranked ballots or not, allowing local communities to choose the way they elect their governments is a good thing for local democracy,” he added.​
Deputy Mayor Jesse Helmer started a petition on his website, urging people to oppose the move, arguing it would only benefit incumbent politicians.​
“Doug Ford is trying to take away power from the people of Ontario,” he wrote.​
Ranked-ballot boosters argue the system cuts down on the need for strategic voting and may even attract more diverse candidates or encourage more people to vote.​
But the use of ranked ballots didn’t change the results of any London contest, mayoral or ward, in 2018 compared to what they would have been with the past system. The candidate leading after the first round of voting, the traditional winner, also triumphed in the end in all 15 races — for the mayor’s seat and the 14 ward council positions.​
Still, voters seemed interested in the new system.​
Just shy of 70 per cent of those who voted for a new mayor ranked more than one candidate on their ballot in the departure from traditional pick-just-one voting, with the largest proportion of those voting for mayor — more than 46 per cent — using all three of their choices at the ballot box.​
That is BS!

Is Ford trying to protect conservative councilors or something?
When it comes to Toronto Ford seems content to pickup where Harris left off.

Conservative interference has been disastrous for Toronto and progress.

Once again, for the better of Toronto, it's time Toronto be its own province and Ontario can have a new capital.

It's a place to stand, it's a place to grow,
That is BS!

Is Ford trying to protect conservative councilors or something?

My honest guess? Its a distraction.

I can't say that for sure.

I had a much better read on the previous government, even when they were doing similarly stupid things.

But to me, this reads as something meant to be leaked; and meant to cause a kerfuffle, so you don't notice what they're really up to.........
That is BS!

Is Ford trying to protect conservative councilors or something?

I presume it's fear that after a dozen municipalities are using them (particularly if Ottawa or Toronto is included) then many will want the provincial ballots to change too. A provincial ranked ballot would make it much much harder for the PC Party to form a majority government; second vote for most NDP/Conservatives would be the Liberal party candidate. Both NDP and Conservatives would need to move toward centrist policies.

That said, 2026 will bring about a change in government again (just from PC fatigue) and I expect both the Liberals and NDP will run on giving municipalities the ranked ballot option again.
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