2018 Municipal Election Analysis

Election Summary

414 municipalities held direct elections in 2018 - 26 of which had their entire council acclaimed. Three upper-tier municipalities had direct elections for the Regional Chair: Halton Region, Waterloo Region and Durham Region. The candidates for the position of Regional Chair were on the ballot of the lower tier municipality.

6,658 candidates competed for the 2,864 elected positions up for grabs. 406 of the 2,864 elected officials also sit on the upper tier, for a total of 3,270 seats.

474 positions were uncontested and were therefore acclaimed.

Women comprised 27.2% of candidates – and 29.4% of elected or acclaimed candidates. Incumbents comprised 33.9% of candidates and captured 58.7% of seats available.

  • Township of Algonquin Highlands and the Town of Spanish elected new councils comprised entirely of women.
  • Total number of females elected as heads of council = 92
    • 80 Mayors
    • 11 Reeves
    • 1 Regional Chair
Questions on Ballot

4 municipalities had questions on the ballot (City of Cambridge, City of Kingston, Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands and Town of Wasaga Beach)

Voter Turnout

Average voter turnout was 38.30% (based on 388 municipalities that conducted direct elections and provided voter turnout information)

Voter Turnout chart
Success Rates

A candidate’s electoral success depends on the magnitude of her competition, the recognition of her name among the electorate, the size of her war chest, and other factors.  Our data cannot account for all of these influences; information below should be interpreted with caution.

Women were slightly more successful than men in Ontario’s 2018 municipal elections (Table 1). Of 1,810 female candidates, 46.4% were successful. In contrast, 41.4% of the 4,846 men running were successful. Two candidates did not have a specified sex in our data; both were unsuccessful.

Incumbents enjoyed a substantial advantage (Table 2). Of 1,939 incumbents running for the same office, 76.5% were successful. Of 318 incumbents running for a different office, 57.5% were successful. In contrast, 26.7% of the 4,401 candidates running for the first time were successful.

Women and men were equally likely to be incumbents. Women nevertheless experienced greater electoral success than men whether running as an incumbent for a new office, an incumbent for the same office, or a new candidate (Table 3).

Turnover Rates

Municipalities experienced an average turnover of 41.5%; new candidates captured 41.3% of seats available. Turnover ranged from 0% in 25 municipalities to 100% in 11 municipalities.