Rocking the (Ranked) Vote

Rocking the (Ranked) Vote

Colum Grove-White, writes for Samara’s Blog As voting reform activists, the biggest problem we face is getting our message out in a celebrity-and-disaster-driven news cycle.  Electoral reform is one of the most critical imperatives confronting us, but if you’re already reading this, chances are I’m preaching to the choir. Like climate change, aging populations, and global governance–all pivotal issues–the case for voting reform doesn’t translate to an obvious, compelling storyline.  We won’t die of first-past-the-post elections.  We won’t discover the cure for ebola through proportional representation. We won’t stop ISIS with ranked ballots. While most Canadians understand the mechanics of how we vote, the impact of the first-past-the-post system on our democratic fabric seems abstract and irrelevant.  Expecting Canadians to wake up tomorrow preoccupied with electoral reform is about as likely as hearing Putin has won a Nobel Peace Prize; as democratic activists we know we’ve got to think outside the box for more effective ways to get people interested. At Ottawa123, we’re trying to find better ways of getting people excited about municipal voting reform.  Ottawa123 is the Ranked Choice Voting Initiative of the City of Ottawa, just one of the various, non-partisan 1-2-3 movements springing up across Ontario, calling for cities to ditch our first-past-the-post system in favour of ranked ballots to make our elections more fair and friendly.  And while there are no buckets of ice on our Ottawa123 agenda, we’re aiming to making voting reform as easy as 1-2-3. Critics of voting reform argue it’s just too complicated for the average voter–one of the many factors that torpedoed voting reform referenda in Ontario and British...
Unveiling the “Stitching our Social Safety Net” quilt

Unveiling the “Stitching our Social Safety Net” quilt

Ottawa123 members participated in creating a piece of the “Stitching our Social Safety Net” quilt which was unveiled at City Hall on the 29th of September. The event was intended to give municipal election candidates an opportunity to engage the community’s concerns surrounding poverty and mental health issues. Our piece of the quilt showcased the Ottawa skyline, including the Peace Tower, formed by the colourful numbers 1, 2 and 3. We added the phrase: “A healthy democracy makes a healthy city.” Here are a few photos of the event including our part of the quilt:...