The Better Ballot Campaign is gathering Canadians together to reinforce our collective commitment to civil discussion and respectful debate of political issues.
We want to make sure that all Canadians feel welcome and able to safely participate in political and public life. We believe this will lead to well-informed and balanced decision-making that reflects the diversity of our communities.
From humble beginnings…
The Better Ballot Campaign team began when a team of passionate community leaders from Guelph Ontario gathered to ask how they could help encourage more women and visible minorities run for office. We know that negative, fear-based campaigning discourages people who are gender and ethnically diverse from running for political office and taking on other community leadership positions.
This is not good for our country and erodes trust in our democratic institutions.
Inspired by the attendees at the 2018 Guelph-Wellington Women’s Campaign School, we put our heads together to come up with a way to change things. Our goal was to find a way to bring civility and respect to political discussions. We wanted to encourage more diverse voices in politics creating a better ballot for everyone.
In partnership with the clever folks from Pearl Street Communications, we developed The Better Ballot Campaign. During the 2018 Ontario municipal elections, we asked candidates and voters to make a commitment to support issues-based campaigns and healthy debate. This led to successful Better Ballot Campaigns in Guelph, Centre Wellington and Orangeville.
Here’s what we heard back from candidates and voters:
- Most of the voters we spoke with shared our belief that fear-based campaigning discouraged people from running and hurt our democratic institutions.
- Candidates, particularly female candidates, said they felt supported by the campaign.
- Voters told us that the quality of debate was improved compared to the previous municipal election.
- Individual candidates reported rethinking their response to personal attacks from opponents.
…to a national presence!
We are now proud to launch The Better Ballot in time for the 2019 federal election.
The Guelph Chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women was instrumental in the Guelph-Wellington Women’s Campaign School. In 2019, the national organization is working with the original Better Ballot Campaign team and Pearl Street to spread our message to communities across the country.
During the 2019 federal election, we are asking candidates and voters to stand up for the right of everyone to be heard in political spaces without fear of harassment. If you would like to bring the Better Ballot campaign to your community, drop us a note!