Electoral reform proposals for Toronto heading to council

News May 14, 2013 by David Nickle York Guardian

Toronto voters may find themselves electing their councillors and mayor in a different way in future elections — but it will be up to Toronto Council to decide how those changes will go, after the city’s government management committee was unable to recommend a single reform.

The committee met Monday, May 13, to hear from the public and consider a number of ways to make the electoral system more democratic.

The city clerk’s department suggested a range of possible changes and improvements.

Voting days could be moved to Saturdays or Sundays, to make it easier for workers to vote and permanent residents who currently have no voting franchised could be permitted to vote in municipal elections.

Internet voting for voters was disabilities was another option put forward, as was communications improvements to the city’s website.

The report also contemplates a ranked ballot system, where voters would choose their top three choices for an office rather than just one. The results would be tallied until one candidate had more than 50 per cent of the votes.

None of it made it through the six-member committee. Councillors Paul Ainslie, Mary Fragedakis, and Pam McConnell supported most of the amendments and recommendations; Councillors Doug Ford, Vincent Crisanti and Giorgio Mammoliti voted no.

Under the rules of procedure, that means that the matter goes to council next month without recommendation.

Social activist Dave Meslin of RaBIT (Ranked Ballot Initiative) said the vote just meant the matter will go to council. Meslin said that he believes there are 23 councillors who’ll support proceeding with at least that and possibly other electoral initiatives.

Meslin said the process has worked will in other jurisdictions.

“We have data from people using this that the rate of compliacne is really high, the number of spoiled ballots is low. It shows that people understand the system and it’s easy as 1, 2, 3. Literally.”

Meslin said he understood how councillors might oppose the idea.

“The truth is the system we’re proposing gives more power to the voters to take power away from politicians,” said Meslin. “So there might be many reasons why politicians wouldn’t support this.”

Scarborough East Councillor Paul Ainslie, who chairs the committee, confirmed that the fight over electoral reform would be fought on the floor of council. He said that having fought two elections, the reforms made sense—particularly enfranchising new Canadians who have permanent resident status but not full citizenship.

“If you’re a permanent resident you have a conern about good transit the state of libraries and emergency services, but when a politician looks at the voters list, there’s the clear distinction that these people have no votes,” said Ainslie. “They can call my office and complain about it, but if you want to take a jaded view, why should I help them?”

Electoral reform proposals for Toronto heading to council

News May 14, 2013 by David Nickle York Guardian

Toronto voters may find themselves electing their councillors and mayor in a different way in future elections — but it will be up to Toronto Council to decide how those changes will go, after the city’s government management committee was unable to recommend a single reform.

The committee met Monday, May 13, to hear from the public and consider a number of ways to make the electoral system more democratic.

The city clerk’s department suggested a range of possible changes and improvements.

Voting days could be moved to Saturdays or Sundays, to make it easier for workers to vote and permanent residents who currently have no voting franchised could be permitted to vote in municipal elections.

Internet voting for voters was disabilities was another option put forward, as was communications improvements to the city’s website.

The report also contemplates a ranked ballot system, where voters would choose their top three choices for an office rather than just one. The results would be tallied until one candidate had more than 50 per cent of the votes.

None of it made it through the six-member committee. Councillors Paul Ainslie, Mary Fragedakis, and Pam McConnell supported most of the amendments and recommendations; Councillors Doug Ford, Vincent Crisanti and Giorgio Mammoliti voted no.

Under the rules of procedure, that means that the matter goes to council next month without recommendation.

Social activist Dave Meslin of RaBIT (Ranked Ballot Initiative) said the vote just meant the matter will go to council. Meslin said that he believes there are 23 councillors who’ll support proceeding with at least that and possibly other electoral initiatives.

Meslin said the process has worked will in other jurisdictions.

“We have data from people using this that the rate of compliacne is really high, the number of spoiled ballots is low. It shows that people understand the system and it’s easy as 1, 2, 3. Literally.”

Meslin said he understood how councillors might oppose the idea.

“The truth is the system we’re proposing gives more power to the voters to take power away from politicians,” said Meslin. “So there might be many reasons why politicians wouldn’t support this.”

Scarborough East Councillor Paul Ainslie, who chairs the committee, confirmed that the fight over electoral reform would be fought on the floor of council. He said that having fought two elections, the reforms made sense—particularly enfranchising new Canadians who have permanent resident status but not full citizenship.

“If you’re a permanent resident you have a conern about good transit the state of libraries and emergency services, but when a politician looks at the voters list, there’s the clear distinction that these people have no votes,” said Ainslie. “They can call my office and complain about it, but if you want to take a jaded view, why should I help them?”

Electoral reform proposals for Toronto heading to council

News May 14, 2013 by David Nickle York Guardian

Toronto voters may find themselves electing their councillors and mayor in a different way in future elections — but it will be up to Toronto Council to decide how those changes will go, after the city’s government management committee was unable to recommend a single reform.

The committee met Monday, May 13, to hear from the public and consider a number of ways to make the electoral system more democratic.

The city clerk’s department suggested a range of possible changes and improvements.

Voting days could be moved to Saturdays or Sundays, to make it easier for workers to vote and permanent residents who currently have no voting franchised could be permitted to vote in municipal elections.

Internet voting for voters was disabilities was another option put forward, as was communications improvements to the city’s website.

The report also contemplates a ranked ballot system, where voters would choose their top three choices for an office rather than just one. The results would be tallied until one candidate had more than 50 per cent of the votes.

None of it made it through the six-member committee. Councillors Paul Ainslie, Mary Fragedakis, and Pam McConnell supported most of the amendments and recommendations; Councillors Doug Ford, Vincent Crisanti and Giorgio Mammoliti voted no.

Under the rules of procedure, that means that the matter goes to council next month without recommendation.

Social activist Dave Meslin of RaBIT (Ranked Ballot Initiative) said the vote just meant the matter will go to council. Meslin said that he believes there are 23 councillors who’ll support proceeding with at least that and possibly other electoral initiatives.

Meslin said the process has worked will in other jurisdictions.

“We have data from people using this that the rate of compliacne is really high, the number of spoiled ballots is low. It shows that people understand the system and it’s easy as 1, 2, 3. Literally.”

Meslin said he understood how councillors might oppose the idea.

“The truth is the system we’re proposing gives more power to the voters to take power away from politicians,” said Meslin. “So there might be many reasons why politicians wouldn’t support this.”

Scarborough East Councillor Paul Ainslie, who chairs the committee, confirmed that the fight over electoral reform would be fought on the floor of council. He said that having fought two elections, the reforms made sense—particularly enfranchising new Canadians who have permanent resident status but not full citizenship.

“If you’re a permanent resident you have a conern about good transit the state of libraries and emergency services, but when a politician looks at the voters list, there’s the clear distinction that these people have no votes,” said Ainslie. “They can call my office and complain about it, but if you want to take a jaded view, why should I help them?”