Why would Councillors vote against Ranked Ballots?
Toronto council will soon discuss if/what will be the type of election process it will use in future elections.
To learn more about ranked ballots, check out RaBit (Ranked Ballots in Toronto).
I have been a supporter of ranked ballots in Toronto since I don't believe a candidate who receives below 20% has a mandate to represent their community. Given the already huge advantage incumbency brings, it is reasonable to expect changes to increase democracy. The current system of FPTP (first past the post) where the winner is determined by having the largest number of votes is flawed. As seen in 2014, should a candidate with 17% be elected?
What would validate current councillors from voting for a change to the election process? The notion of 'too confusing to voters' has been discussed. It is irresponsible to assume voters are ill informed and unable to learn how to increase their democratic right.
At the bottom of the page are 2 pictures of a chart I began to create to show when the winning candidates entered their ward races. Several incumbent councillors have been known to wait to seek re-election, inducing a higher number of candidates to run. If an incumbent felt threatened to keep their seat, having a larger number of opponents would dilute vote. An incumbent advantage can help get them re-elected even if it meant a large majority voted for change. Ward 44 Councillor Ron Moeser entered his race on the last day possible, having 14 other candidates already registered and won with a slim overall vote of 25.73%.
I know from my council candidate experience how difficult it is to run a campaign. I was fortunate enough to not have an incumbent for most of the race, allowing for fresh conversations and possible new representation for my ward. With the late entry by the former councillor's son, the election became evident 'name recognition vs the rest'. Now as a councillor, Stephen Holyday will have a clear incumbent advantage. He will also likely not face as many candidates, which may lead to election results like his father of 70% support. Would he have won with ranked balloting... I am not sure.
The hypocrisy of councillors who received a minority percentage of votes within their ward attempting to validate their vote against ranked ballots by proclaiming 'DEMOCRACY' is a bit nauseating! Between the notion of 'too confusing' and how it is 'undemocratic' to have a possible 2nd or 3rd choice win a council seat shows that there really is a need to evaluate our election process.
Also below shows the councillors who voted against ranked ballots. Ward 5 Councillor Justin Di Ciano added an amendment asking the Province not to proceed with Ranked Choice Voting. Hopefully now that the Provincial government has announced the ability for municipalities to utilize ranked ballots, the next debate will not have the same outcome.