World News – CA – Classified ballots for municipal elections matter and why Doug Ford should care


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We are in a time when old systems are evolving rapidly as they have passed their useful lifespan New approaches are emerging from the need and overwhelming desire for change The COVID-19 pandemic has added fuel to our lives rapidly evolving

One of the most difficult changes to make is electoral reform It’s a long and often slow job that spans years Our institutions resist change Yet under the previous Ontario Liberal government, an important first step has been taken by granting municipalities the power to choose preferential ballot elections to strengthen local democracy

Our municipal councils often change very little over time because the incumbents have the advantage They are often far from diverse, even though they represent diverse communities

Ranked ballots give voters more choice and produce results that better reflect voter preferences They open up our elections to more votes, more perspectives and broader representation

Ranked polls don’t benefit groups that rely on the status quo to win elections Introducing preferential ballots in provincial elections is not on the table – so what has Premier Doug Ford got he scared?

Municipalities deserve to decide how they conduct their own affairs, including how they elect their leaders In fact, in the referendums in Kingston and Cambridge, ranked votes were chosen by voters as the means to elect their representatives

In defense of his decision, the premier said preferential ballots would confuse voters He also said the first past the post system was good enough for Ontarians in 2020 as it was in 1867 – just 33 years after the abolition of slavery in British North America, a time when the working class, women and blacks, natives and people of color were excluded from the vote

This isn’t the first time Premier Ford has indicated he has no respect for local democratic representation In 2018, Ford passed Bill 5 and cut Toronto City Council by 47 to 25 councilors in the middle of a municipal election

Although Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America and the largest contributor to the Canadian economy with 20% of the national GDP, this premier does not believe that the capital of Ontario is capable of show good government or choose your own voting system

This initiative, undertaken without consultation, has increased the already monumental barriers for young racialized, LGBTQ2S and gender non-conforming women, who have the most difficulty achieving electoral success

When the votes were counted, Toronto City Council was very different from the city it represents Where 515% of the population is from a visible minority group, but 90% of councilors are white and 70% of municipal councils are men although they represent only 48% of the general population

Status quo is not enough We can and must do better Ranked ballots are one way to get there

An analysis of local elections between 1995 and 2004 by FairVote in the United States showed that the adoption of a priority ballot increased the percentage of candidates of color from 172 percent to 256 percent At the same time, the percentage of candidates of color in “control” and non-ranked cities actually declined slightly, from 12% to 114 percent

« As a young single black mother in politics, having seen the way women are vilified and treated in politics, I wasn’t sure I wanted to run until I learned the benefits of preferential votes The system allows for more equitable representation results, in the 7th ballot, I am the first black woman elected to London City Council, ”Kayabaga added

By introducing legislation to strike down ballots filed in a COVID-19 disaster recovery bill, Ford is again overstepping the will of the people – without consultation, explanation or defense This is all about another insult to Ontarians and blatant abuse of power

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Doug Ford

World News – CA – Ranked Municipal Election Ballots Matter and Why Doug Ford Should Care


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