A look at the numbers - who has to get what in the way of votes to be the next Mayor.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 18th, 2018



In the 2014 election, the one that returned every member of council to office, five percent of the city’s 121,535 eligible voters, 6053 voted before the election day either on line or at the advance polls.

The Gazette learned from the Returning Officer that 9,000 people have registered to vote on line for the 2018 election – that number may have increased

News anal REDThe total voter turnout for the 2014 election was 37.6 per cent; 45,671 ballots were cast.

The increase in the online vote so far this election suggests there will be a higher turnout for the 2018 election.

The candidates know how many voters there are in their ward – that information is not posted on the city election web site for general reference.

We will use the 2014 eligible voter count for the purposes of an analysis and a projection of what could happen on October 22nd.  The actual numbers for 2018 will be higher.

Exclude Greg Woodruff for the moment – even though he may turn out to be a spoiler.

Meed Ward with Mayor Goldring: she is more comfortable with herself as a speaker.

Meed Ward with Mayor Goldring: she is more comfortable with herself as a speaker.

With three other candidates, one of them is going to have to get 40% of the vote to become Mayor.

Rick Goldring no longer has the base he felt he had.

Wallace at council meeting

Mike Wallace listening during a city council Standing Committee meeting.

Mike Wallace has a solid Tory base – does that amount to 40% of the voters. Likely not but more to the point Wallace hasn’t generated the excitement and enthusiasm that was needed and his performance in the debates didn’t give him the lift he would need.

The unknown is Marianne Meed Ward. If her base is as big as she implies it is then she could get 40% of the vote leaving 60% to be split between Goldring and Wallace. Can either of them get enough of that 60% to push them past Meed Ward?

Goldring’s two unfortunate personal public attacks on Meed Ward soured many people on a candidate who was already in trouble. Is the Goldring vote low enough to let Wallace get the bulk of the vote (that 60%) to pass Meed Ward?

The Meed Ward team is pumped and primed – they believe 2018 is her year and they are fervent in their belief that she is the difference the city needs.

All the above is plausible – now bring Greg Woodruff back on the stage.

Just under 6000 people in Burlington voted for him as Regional Chair in 2014. Gary Carr literally blew Woodruff out of the water.

Greg WoodruffBut Woodruff didn’t sink – he has made some very intelligent remarks in each of the debates. He will never get elected Mayor – the question about Woodruff is where will his votes come from?

Are there people who are edgy about Meed Ward and will vote for Woodruff?

Are there past Goldring voters who are disappointed with what he hasn’t managed to do during his eight years as Mayor and will give their vote to Woodruff because Meed Ward is a little too over the top for then and there isn’t a hope in Hades that they would ever vote for a Tory?

The Woodruff vote has to come from somewhere. He had almost 6000 last time and he hasn’t done anything really stupid to lose any of that. His performance suggests his vote count will rise – the question is at whose expense.

If the Woodruff vote comes off of Goldring’s plate – Meed Ward is home free.  If it comes off Meed Wards plate she could be in serious trouble.

I have an amiable relationship with Dr. Shih, one of the smaller developers and owner of a number of plazas around the city giving him a consistent rental cash flow.


Dr. Shih, centre, at a community planning event.

We spent a moment in a hallway at the Art Gallery one recent evening and he asked me how I thought the election was going to pan out.

I took him through my ward by ward expectations and added who I thought would be the next Mayor. Dr. Shih gave me that inscrutable look of his, tilted his head and asked: How did your projection in the last election work out. He knew that I had been totally wrong.

Dr. Shih did not share his election result thoughts with me. He did use that Oriental phrase: “We live in interesting times’” and went about his business. The phrase is said to be a curse.

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11 comments to A look at the numbers – who has to get what in the way of votes to be the next Mayor.

  • Bob Wilson

    Burlington voted for change in the provincial election. Expect the municipal one to be any different? We live in disruptive times where many people are willing to give a candidate, who contrasts almost completely to the incumbant , a vote of confidence to do something different.

    Think FordNation was a surprise? Wait for WardNation.

  • Kevin

    I have been very impressed with Greg Woodruff during this campaign, I think he has flagged a lot of issues and opened people’s eyes on the issues, I agree it would be great to have Greg on the council, and I can definitely appreciate his reasons for running for he mayoral position too.

    Goldring is one of the most “wishy washy” people I have met and will change his position multiple times through a council meeting depending on which way the wind is blowing.

    I have either attended or watched all of the debates and to be honest I can barely tell you what Wallace’s platform is. Other than the fact he wants the Liberty Village West along Upper Middle just south of the Orchard neighbourhood he has just fell into the white noise this campaign.

    I have been a supporter of Marrianne since meeting her at a council meeting earlier this year, considering how she fought for and supported residents (from various Wards) that were fighting over development shows that she cares about much more than downtown. She has been the Ward 2 Councillor and yet she actively supported residents who were essentially hung out to dry in other Wards by their own Councillors.

  • Bryce L.ee

    To me Goldring is a has been. Two terms and he should be out. Meed-Ward was good as a councillor, I doubt she’ll be as effective as a mayor. Wallace got all those perks for Burlington as a federal MP, not as a lowly by comparison municipal mayor. And too Wallace may well be accused of double dipping: pension from being an MP, and salary as a municipal politician.
    Greg Woodruff has tried in the past for a golden ring; he strikes me as quiet, reserved, and
    perhaps the best person. His six storey building limit is an excellent suggestion, and keep needed local services, local. Too bad that in-the-works monstrosity opposite City Hall can’t be cut down to size, six stories maximum,.Ditto the proposed development at the corner of Martha and Lakeshore.

  • Laura

    Personally, I think you’re spot on about the Woodruff comments. I’m not a fan of our current mayor, but I don’t trust Meed Ward either. I did not respect her approach during the school closure issues (she should have realized the perceived conflict of interest, even if she didn’t believe one existed, and stepped back) and I worry that she’s only going to focus on downtown, not the rest of the city. That leaves me Woodruff or Wallace – I didn’t support Wallace when he was with the conservative party, but I do appreciate his efforts to engage with the public during the election through his websites, facebook, etc. Woodruff seems to be a good option – I like his ideas, and though I know he won’t win, support is still not a wasted vote. It demonstrates the need for other candidates and may encourage another run. It will be interesting to see what happens Monday!

    • Don Fletcher

      While obviously it’s your right to vote as you please, Laura, voting for someone who can’t possibly win still feels to me (on any other than pure philosophical grounds) like a wasted vote. What’s is happening downtown is simply a precursor to what will happen to/ impact most other wards, so I’m not sure that fixing the downtown now is not the right strategy for our next mayor. Finally, if you want to talk about “trust” or the lack thereof, consider what our current council has agreed to build now & in the future (i.e. Official Plan) in Burlington, to the delight of developers and dismay of most engaged residents. While you might not agree with her every move, no one to my knowledge has ever questioned whether Councillor Meed Ward is “on the take”. She has my trust, and vote. .

      • Laura

        And you’re welcome to your opinion, Don. I am struggling with this election, as I do not support any of the 3 front runners for Mayor. I personally feel they are all poor choices, for different reasons, and while we all acknowledge that Woodruff is a long shot, crazier things have happened in recent elections. Every candidate on the ballot deserves consideration when making decisions about who to vote for, especially at a time when our city is in the midst of so much change and transition. And yes, downtown is an important focus certainly, but it’s not the only issue facing our city. Meed Ward’s actions related to the PAR have influenced my perspective on her ability to serve as a Mayor to the entire city. I know I’m not alone in this perspective, just like I know you’re not alone in your opinion that she should be mayor. The wonderful thing about where we live is we all have the opportunity to vote in the way that best fits our values and perspectives.

    • Louise F.

      Laura – I feel the exact same way you do, it’s like you were reading my mind. Greg Woodruff has some great ideas and he has a real likeability factor.
      3 months ago, I would have said I was voting for MMW but not anymore. I don’t trust her either.

  • Steve D

    I wish Greg had ran for ward 1.

  • Thomas Riddell

    I was Cam Jackson Supporter for years Never like Mayor Goldring still don’t I got to know Marianne Meed Ward. for past few years and Think she the right fit I don’t want to live city where they only way I can see lake is buying a 5,000,000 condo that will never afford

  • If you ask me it all comes down to turn out. If it’s around 40k to 45k then Goldring will win. He has a big block of votes in the North. If turn out starts pushing 50k to 55k then who knows – it depends on what is animating those new voters. When things are going badly many people just vote “it’s on your watch” – how many will break for Wallace or my self? We won’t know until Monday – you can’t poll these new voters with only cell phones.