Broken Voting Scene
by Michael Wheeler
RaBIT is a grassroots initiative to change the way we vote in Toronto municipal elections to a ranked ballot.
Over the past five years, many places have switched to ranked balloting including San Francisco, Minneapolis, Memphis, Oakland and The Academy Awards. There are a number of benefits to this system, but two of the biggies are it ensures majority support and encourages a more positive political environment.
Viewed in this context, RaBIT is proposing a transformative adjustment to what politics is in Toronto. Gone would be talk of pushing lower profile candidates out of races to eliminate vote splitting, candidates would be respectful to opponents whose support they may need, and extreme candidates would have to convince a majority of voters their extreme ideas are attractive to win.
In the current first-past-the-post format that defines our voting system, none of this is possible. Divisional and oppositional wedge politics are the most effective route to power. Candidates are routinely elected with a majority of electors casting their ballots for other candidates who wanted different policies from the ones they support. I can understand how this ethos alienates a huge swath of people from engaging with politics.
So I’m going to the meeting this Monday to learn how to volunteer. There are a lot of problems in Toronto and issues I would like to put my energy into, but you have to pick your battles and this one seems like it could have some far-reaching consequences for many future administrations. The RaBIT team has done a great job to get this issue on the public agenda and taken seriously by city councillors and the media. Now is the time to push for this – and there is no substitute for a well-organized group of passionate citizens. As of publication there were already 90 confirmed attendees on the Facebook.
Facebook Event: Hop to it! RaBIT volunteer meeting!
Monday December 17, 7pm @ Toronto City Hall