Voters head to polls for municipal elections across Ontario

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Voters head to polls for municipal elections across Ontario
Toronto Mayor John Tory accompanies his mother Elizabeth Bacon to vote at an advanced polling election station in Toronto on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO  Polls have opened across much of Ontario as voters get set to cast their ballots in municipal elections.

Toronto Mayor John Tory voted at the city’s Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, arriving with his wife just as the polls opened at 10 a.m.

The race in Toronto, where 242 candidates are fighting for a spot on the recently reduced 25-member council, has dominated the election campaigns following the city’s battle with the Progressive Conservative government.

Premier Doug Ford introduced legislation to slash the size of Toronto’s 47-seat council nearly in half after the campaign had already begun, leading the city to launch a legal challenge.

A judge initially ruled in Toronto’s favour, but that decision was later overthrown and the election continued as Ford envisioned it.

After casting his ballot this morning, Tory told reporters that he expects business to carry on as usual when the smaller city council reconvenes.

“Really what people want to see is that we work together … to get things done,” he said. “After all, that’s why they sent us there.”

Elsewhere, voters in London, Ont., will also have a markedly different experience at the polls Monday as the first-ever Canadian municipality to use ranked ballots in a local election.

All of Ontario’s cities and towns were given the option to use preferential voting for the first time this year, but only London took the province up on its offer.

When electorates in the southwestern Ontario city head to the polls they will be asked to rank their top three choices of candidates.

People in two other cities _ Cambridge and Kingston _ will vote on whether they’d like to see ranked ballots used during the next municipal election in 2022.

In Brampton, Ont., Patrick Brown is using the election as a way to re-enter politics.

The former Progressive Conservative leader is running to be mayor of the city northwest of Toronto, months after he stepped down from his post amid sexual misconduct allegations that he denies.

He’s going up against incumbent Linda Jeffrey, who has been endorsed by some of the Conservative legislators at Queen’s Park.

But not all Ontarians will have to make a choice in today’s election.

According to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, people in 26 of Ontario’s 444 municipalities won’t have to cast a ballot at all because none of their elected officials face any competition.

In those cases, the candidates will be acclaimed in their positions, meaning they’re named as winners because no one chose to run against them.

In spite of the municipalities’ different circumstances, the campaigns are connected by common threads.

Hot button issues such as housing and accessible public transit have been campaign issues in Toronto and smaller municipalities alike.