Electoral Reform

… Himy Syed might be better than all the front-runners

“…Nobody loves strategic votingisn’t the solution. The solution is electoral reform.

“I honestly think Himy Syed might be better than all the front-runners.”

Matt Elliott GraphicMattMatt Elliott | GraphicMatt
Urban Toronto (10/21/2010)

Joe Pantalone 51.6% | George Smitherman 22.6% | Himy Syed 12.9%
Toronto Mayor Round 6

… Ranked Choice Voting Demonstration A Success, Says Group — Vote By Choice

“People participating in a Ranked Choice Voting experiment have cast ballots parallel to the 2010 Ontario municipal elections.

“While in the experiment the Ottawa Mayoral contest was won on the first ballot, the Toronto Mayor was elected after six ballots needed to break the fifty percent plus one threshold.

Joe Pantalone was able to achieve 51.6% with distributed votes from dropped candidates Rob Ford, Sarah Thomson, and Abdullah-Baquie Ghazi.

George Smitherman reached 22.6% with votes from Rob Ford.

“Vote By Choice spokesperson Mark MacKenzie asserts that the while the results are interesting the main lesson to be derived revolves around the actual method of voting.

To be clear, given the level of samples we are dealing with for this initial demonstration, we are not claiming that the results produced by our experiment are representative of the actual 2010 municipal vote.

“We are grateful to have had the chance to facilitate participation and thought about a way of voting that ultimately enhances democratic intent.”

“One of the primary concerns of voters in our current “One X” system is the tendency vote “strategically.”

“With Ranked Choice Voting, people can vote their conscience and not be forced to relegate the candidate they believe in to the sidelines to prevent somebody else from winning,” says MacKenzie.

“Ranked Choice Voting is an idea whose time has come. Voters get to rank their order of preference, in contrast to the current system.

“We’re confident that once voters develop an appetite for this system, they are going to rightly demand Ranked Choice Voting as a normative experience,” says MacKenzie.”

John Ford | Electoral Reformist
Vote By Choice (10/25/2010)

… shortened election campaign idea is only half the battle … Fairness has got to come first

“…Chow’s proposal feels like only half a plan. It fixes something people are frustrated with, but it doesn’t do anything to address the important issue of electoral fairness, where incumbent candidates and candidates with name recognition enjoy a huge advantage over other candidates.

“In fact, it’s likely a shorter campaign period would only increase those inherent advantages. As it is, the length of our campaign period at least gives low-profile candidates a chance to establish themselves.

“It was the long campaign that helped David Miller go from little-known city councillor to victor in 2003, and this year’s drawn-out election period has helped dark horse candidates like David Soknacki and Ari Goldkind get on the radar.

“That doesn’t mean we should just stick with the status quo. But a shorter campaign period needs to come with consideration of further electoral reforms.

“…campaign finance reform. Instead of Toronto’s current system … look to a model like New York City, where candidates receive public matching funds for every dollar they raise up to a set limit, making true grassroots candidacies a lot more viable.

“…I’ll never shut up about the need for ranked ballots until Toronto finally gets them. Eliminating this notion of “strategic voting” would give less-established candidates a chance to earn votes.

“With reforms like these, a shorter campaign period becomes possible — maybe even preferable.

“But without a full debate about making our elections more balanced, simply cutting the length of Toronto’s municipal elections is an idea that shouldn’t fly.

Fairness has got to come first.”

Matt Elliott GraphicMattMatt Elliott | Ford For Toronto
Metro Toronto (06/22/2014)

… Why mayoralty losers should get a spot on city councils

“If Doug Ford and Olivia Chow, as the polls indicate, lose to John Tory in the battle for the Toronto mayoralty, should they be allowed to sit on the next council anyway, as members-at-large?

“It would allow better use of the talents of the individuals vying to be chief magistrate. And it would, if applied in municipal elections across the country, encourage more councillors to challenge incumbent mayors, since the penalty for losing would not be a number of years – in Ontario, four – sitting on the sidelines.

“…at the municipal level, we have a presidential form of mayoralty elections – it’s winner takes all, and the best the losers can do is run next time.

“…maybe this system might help challengers like that, in less emotionally charged elections, to gain more traction as they are no longer viewed as a hopeless cause.

“…the most significant benefit would be encouraging challenges to incumbent mayors.

“It also would ensure that Toronto not lose the potential contributions of Doug Ford and Olivia Chow on the next council.”

Harvey Schachter Globe and MailHarvey Schacter | Business Writer
The Globe and Mail (10/01/2014)

… Ranked ballot a priority for 2018 civic elections, Kathleen Wynne says

“… In her mandate letter to Ted McMeekin, Wynne spells out the importance of leading “from the activist centre” with democratic reforms.

“…Significantly, Wynne has instructed McMeekin to begin “a review of the Municipal Elections Act after the 2014 municipal elections” next month.

“You will ensure that the act meets the needs of communities, and that it provides municipalities with the option of using ranked ballots in future elections, starting in 2018, as an alternative to first-past-the-post,” she wrote.

“…In a ranked-ballot system, voters cast ballots for preferred candidates — 1 for their favourite, 2 for their second choice, 3 for their third and so on — instead of for just one candidate.

“If no one receives 50 per cent of the No. 1 votes, an instant run-off is held so the last-place candidate drops off the ballot and their second choice votes are allocated to the surviving candidates.

“The process continues until a candidate wins a simple majority of 50 per cent plus one.

“Proponents argue it is more democratic, curbs vote-splitting, and leads to less polarizing politics because candidates run less negative campaigns over fears of alienating potential second-choice supporters.

“Dave Meslin, head of Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto, praised Wynne for keeping a campaign promise to revamp the system.

Voters would have a lot more choice,” said Meslin, noting if the ranked ballot system were in place in the current Toronto mayoral contest former “candidates like David Soknacki and Karen Stintz would likely still be in the race.”

“There would be no talk of strategic voting. It’s a real shame for people to be told before an election to be told not to vote for the person they want.”

“It’s not as if run-off voting is a foreign concept in Canada. (Candidates) tend to be more cordial to each other because they want to build second-place support of their opponents’ supporters,” he said.

“…under the current “first-past-the-post” system, candidate routinely win with far less than 50 per cent of the vote.”

Robert Benzie

Robert Benzie | Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
Toronto Star (10/01/2014)

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