The proponents of nonpartisan politics argue that their position has been misrepresented by the advocates of partisan politics. David Siegel explains that one of the proponents’ favourite arguments "is that those who oppose party politics are like the turn of the century reformers who see local government as pure administration and refuse to admit that it has a political element.” (Nossal 1989) He argues that modern proponents of nonpartisanship have never been so naive and that such an argument is "guilt by association" which must be rejected. (Nossal 1989) He then presents a reasoned set of arguments for nonpartisanship. First, he maintains that unlike a party system with disciplined party voting, with nonpartisanship, individual councillors are directly responsible to their electors. In addition, in a nonpartisan system councillors are able to work together, since they are not forced into council combat because they openly wear party labels. Finally, he argues that intergovernmental relations may break down if the provincial government is controlled by one party and a municipal council by another. (Graham 1986)
On balance, the rationale for nonpartisan local political systems does not seem to be as persuasive as that for partisan systems. First, few if any Canadian municipalities have been afflicted by "bossism" and political corruption. Second, in a nonpartisan system decision making tends to be more dispersed since power generally is more dispersed, while in a partisan system power tends to be concentrated, which enables the public to pinpoint political responsibility. Finally, in a nonpartisan system there is a tendency to maintain that political decisions are made in the public’s interest, while in a partisan party system politicians are more likely to publicize who benefits and who pays.
Although there are examples of municipal nonpartisanship in other western industrialized democracies, concerted efforts to foster nonpartisanship have been made only in Canada and the United States. In both countries, its strongest advocates tend to be established political leaders and rural voters who fear that partisan government would erode their control over the political establishment. In a few Ontario communities the political campaign for nonpartisan local elections has been opposed by a militant labour movement. Labour made a concerted effort to gain a foothold in Ontario cities in which some candidates sponsored by provincial parties had been elected to municipal office. However, more common were local parties with limited durability that were spawned by a business community fearful of labour’s potential power and determined to instill and reinforce an ethos of civic and business boosterism in city hall. (Banting 1994)