I Know! It’s An Unpopular Thing To Do. Let The Hate Begin.
There are a slew of reasons, some valid, some not, for me not wanting to partake in the democratic process this time around, but the main one is this utter feeling that my vote doesn’t matter. I’m discouraged. I don’t want to waste my time. In this riding, there is absolutely no point. This town bleeds blue. But if it bled red, would it be better? I’m not convinced it would. So why bother? Maybe I’m just a sore loser.
Or Maybe I’m just tired of voting in a system that really does not reflect the true values of its voters, and for parties that care about one thing only: control. They try to make me believe that my vote counts when popular vote can point to one candidate, yet another one wins? How is that making my vote count? It’s all about representation, they say. Is it though? Or is it really about manipulating the map?
But you know what is worst than political parties? People. People who won’t even look at an alternative candidate simply on principle. People who won’t take a chance on anything else but what they have chanced in the past. They think, If I vote NDP, It’s just a vote for the Conservatives or If I back the New Blue, I’m just helping the Liberals. They are not wrong, historically speaking.
So what is left to do? How can I still participate while showing my discontent? Well, on election day, I, for one, will get dressed, march on to my polling station, ask for my ballot, then return it to the clerk–sorry Wendy.
The Little-Known Option Of Declining Your Vote
From Ontario Elections Act:
“An elector who has received a ballot and returns it to the deputy returning officer declining to vote, forfeits the right to vote and the deputy returning officer shall immediately write the word ‘declined’ upon the back of the ballot and preserve it to be returned to the returning officer and shall cause an entry to be made in the poll record that the elector declined to vote.”
While simply not going to vote, or spoiling your ballot, may seem like it achieves the same goal, there is a clear difference. Those “votes” are not tallied the same way. You may skip voting because you don’t have a ride, you’re sick or there is bad weather in your area. The reasons are varied and not noted. You’re lumped in with all the other no shows. Similarly, if you spoil your ballot, you’re lumped it with everybody who spoiled, even those who simply made a mistake and coloured outside the circle.
When you chose to decline your vote, you’re unequivocally stating that you are not happy with the way things are done.
Convince me otherwise.
Unlike stubborn constituents, I can be reasoned with. I would love to hear why you think I should back a certain candidate, even if Conservatives are projected to win by a landslide here in our riding. You have just about 24 hours to do so.
In The End…
Ontario, and Canada by the same token, is in dire need or electoral reform, and I’m not talking about shaking up slightly the “first past the post” antiquated system we’ve been using for years and clearly doesn’t work. I’m talking about an overhaul of this obsolete system. I’m talking about implementing something akin to an instant run off system.
In instant run off, a voter ranks the candidates from favourite to least favourite. If their first in line gets eliminated, their vote goes to their second. If that one gets eliminated, the vote goes to the third, and so on so forth. You can read about it here.
But Don’t Worry…
Might as well dream of rainbows and unicorns. This is unlikely to ever happen because it would require a crystal clear message from the voters, who are set in their ways. And as long as we continue to partake in our existing electoral system, we’re implicitly approving of it. For now, though, if you’re not Conservative, and do not want to decline your vote, visit https://votewell.ca/. It will give you the best strategic play to un-split the vote in your riding. And if you want Conservatives to win, vote Conservative.