This afternoon, the Ontario government is introducing legislation that will allow any municipality in Ontario to use ranked ballots in the 2018 election.
“Ranked ballots give more power to voters. They reduce negative campaigns, eliminate strategic voting, increase diversity on the ballot, increase turnover, and give us more accurate results. In other words, this historic reform will make our local elections more fair and friendly” says Dave Meslin, Creative Director of Unlock Democracy and the 123Ontario campaign.
123Ontario is a network of volunteer-run campaigns across on Ontario, pushing for municipal ranked ballots. Currently, we have active campaigns in Toronto, Ottawa, London, Guelph, Windsor, Whitby, and Hamilton.
"This legislation is a huge step forward for democracy in Ontario” said Katherine Skene, Co-Chair of Toronto’s RaBIT campaign. "We're hopeful that Toronto sees this as a renewed opportunity to improve our own voting system so our government better represents the diversity of our city.”
Once the legislation is adopted by the provincial parliament, municipalities will have the choice of using ranked ballots either in single member districts (“Ranked Choice Voting”) or in multi-member districts using the proportional STV model ("Single Transferable Vote”). In single-member districts, the threshold to win is 50%. In multi-member districts the threshold is lower, depending on the number of Councillors per ward.
"Democratic renewal has witnessed a tremendous surge recently. Enhancing democracy has also been a priority in Durham. Alongside electronic voting and the regional adjustment of council seats, ranked ballots are the next logical step.” said Nick Boileau, Chair of 123whitby.
Ranked Ballots are used by all parties in Canada to choose their leaders, and they are used in Municipal elections across the United States.
We want to thank the provincial government and Minister Ted McMeekin for taking this historic step. Ministry staff invested an enormous amount of time and effort into their public consultation and outreach to stakeholders. It was worth the effort, and worth the wait. Today we celebrate this bold step towards fair and friendly local elections in Ontario.
As Damin Starr, from 123Hamilton said, "Ranked ballots are one simple step towards strengthening our democratic process”.
123Ontario: Dave Meslin, firstname.lastname@example.org, (416) 889-2837
RaBIT (Toronto): Katherine Skene, email@example.com, (416) 407-4490
Ottawa123: Colum Grove-White, firstname.lastname@example.org, (613) 324-9753
123Windsor: Mita Williams email@example.com, (226) 345-1110
123Whitby: Nick Boileau, firstname.lastname@example.org, (905) 718 0087
Hamilton: Damin Starr, email@example.com, (905) 572 0326