Breakdown of Toronto 2014 Campaign Filing
Over the next few months I will be examining information provided from Toronto Elections website. The website gives detailed information on the election results and also the financial statements of all candidates that ran. My focus will be Councillor campaigns financing in particular wards and "Cost per Vote" analysis.
Today I'll give a quick summary of what I've compiled.
There were 358 candidates for the 44 council seats who ran in 2014.
The large total number of candidates was very interesting after the election and it made me wonder if all were actively campaigning. I know from my own personal experience, there were two candidates that I either never saw while in the neighbour or who did not attend any debates/meetings/forums. The thought of simply running without any sort of campaigning bothered me. All my time, effort and passion was made a mockery by this lack of respect for the process. Maybe that was their point - an experiment to see how many votes they'd garner without any effort. What better way to thumb the system than to show their result!
I began to dive into the CANDIDATE FINANCIAL FILINGS and do what I do best, analysis of all the available data. I had made every attempt in my campaign filing to keep detailed records, using the city's online system to maintain some sense of order. This was not the case for every person who filed.
Notable items found while scrolling through hundreds of records:
- There were plenty of residents who filed nomination fee only.
- Some candidates checked off "nomination only" and proceeded to include expenses
- Several filings were filled with errors (corrected & initialled)
- Not everyone had filed their papers on-time
- One candidate has wrong ward listed (ran & dropped out, ran in another ward)
Below is a breakdown of filings currently on the system.
As you can see, there were 53 candidates that filed only their nomination fee (debatable with some filings incomplete). With only nomination fee paid, 14.8% of candidates on the ballots did not have a campaign. (note: almost 26K people voted for these council candidates).
The total campaigns currently in default included 51 candidates & also 5 candidates who have campaign extensions but were supposed to file preliminary financial statements March 27th.
22 Candidates were granted an extension for filing their campaign financials. This also include four current councillors and several main contenders.
The most interesting number I found were 17 campaigns having no information. They are not in default, have no extensions listed or have financial filings posted. This includes two current councillors and several candidates who performed quite well. I expect that given the sheer size of campaigns this election (including mayor and trustee), Toronto Elections is attempting to upload as quickly as possible. (give them the benefit of doubt, they did a great job)
Where was the money collected/spent?
The amount of money collected and spent on the municipal election is a bit staggering given the spending limit. I will go into depth in several future posts about my views on very obvious areas of concern.
Below are two corresponding sets of data about campaign contributions and campaign expenses. Please note that with 17+22+5 campaigns not filed, the totals are likely to alter in the near future. This snapshot does paint a picture that is currently available. Also take into consideration that 53 candidates only filed their nomination fee. The current data is from those who completed their filing and also those who put in nomination fee only.
Campaign finances - broken down by ward
Campaign finances - summaries of ward breakdown
- Number of Candidates per ward
- Wards without returning incumbents highlighted in yellow
- RANK OF CONTRIBUTIONS (top 5 highlighted in RED)
- RANK OF EXPENSES (Top 5 highlighted in RED)
- AVERAGES OF CONTRIBUTIONS & EXPENSES
With a council that returned 37 of 38 councillors, was $4M too much to spend on campaigns?
Will the final numbers show that open council seats garnered more contributions?
Random question: would ranked ballots have increased number of candidates running and amount of money collected & spent? Or would ranked ballots limit candidates with money collected & spent decreased?
Thank you and I hope you look forward to deeper analysis in future posts.