Municipal Elections are officially and drastically changed

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The days of ‘first past the post’ voting are officially over.

Today Ontario passed legislation to give municipalities the option of using ranked ballots in future municipal elections, beginning in 2018.

This was an idea that failed in the B.C. provincial election of 2004. It needed 60 per cent of voters to agree but lost by less than half a per cent.

“The passing of Bill 181 is an historic moment. For the first time in Ontario’s history, people have access to an alternative to first past the post. RaBIT, Unlock Democracy and other ranked ballot groups are hopeful to see a 2018 municipal election that will achieve majority support for the winner, discourage negative campaigning and reduce strategic voting.”
— Katherine Skene, Ranked Ballot Initiative Toronto

The Municipal Elections Modernization Act, 2016 reforms the Municipal Elections Act. It will increase transparency and accountability by:

  • Making campaign finance rules clearer and easier to follow for voters, candidates and contributors
  • Banning corporate and union contributions to candidates
  • Creating a framework to regulate third-party advertising, including contribution and spending limits, and to define third-party advertising as advertisements supporting or opposing a candidate
  • Shortening the length of campaigns by opening nominations for candidates on May 1 instead of January 1
  • Requiring the municipal clerk to prepare a plan regarding the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that could affect electors and candidates with disabilities
  • Making it easier to add or change certain information on the voters’ list.

“We listened to the calls from voters to ensure that rules for municipal elections reflect the real and evolving needs of our communities. The Municipal Elections Modernization Act clarifies the rules and will allow municipalities to consider the option of using ranked ballots. ”
— Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

“Campaign Fairness is pleased to see Ontario pass legislation that bans corporate and union donations to candidates of a municipal election. We are entering a new era in Ontario that will make politics accessible and accountable, level the playing field for all candidates, and restore respect for the political system.”
— Robert Eisenberg , Co-Founder & President Campaign Fairness