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Decline To Vote

Created by dave. Last edited by dave, 10 years and 268 days ago. Viewed 4,251 times. #2
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The Problem

The problem is that if you don't like any of the candidates being presented to you in a Federal Election, you are left with the following options:

  • vote for someone you don't want to (ie the least objectionable candidate);
  • deliberately spoil your ballot; or
  • don't show up on election day.
The problem with option #2 is that when counted, your spoiled ballot makes you look like an idiot; and option #3 makes you look like you don't care.

(Option #1 proves you are an idiot, but disguises it.)

There is no way to register your displeasure at the options being presented in such a way that it can be tabulated and compared to those who accept the options being offered; a way to differentiate those who are unhappy from those who are idiots and those who don't care.

The Solution

We need a mechanism such that a citizen can go and register his displeasure by "declining to vote". Either you would tell the returning officer that you wish to decline your ballot, or ballots would include a "none of the above" field for those who wished to vote in such a way.

Such counts would not affect the outcome of the election; the candidate who had the most votes would win the riding. However if there were large numbers of "none of the above" or declined in the riding it would certainly dilute the legitimacy of the elected candidate. It would also identify the riding to the parties as one which may be ready for new ideas and would thus be ripe for contesting in a better way in future elections.

Federal History

SUB-COMMITTEE ON PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON PROCEDURE AND HOUSE AFFAIRS for >>21 November 2001 details a committee meeting which included discussion on such a bill (I believe it is C-319, although the testimony refers to C-287?); The >>entry for C-319 refers only to First Reading, so I presume it died in committee. Testimony was delivered by Mr. Charles Caccia M.P. (Davenport, Lib.). (Mr. Caccia >>died in 2008.)

2007: You Can Decline To Vote In the North West Territories

Can I Decline To Vote?

Some people choose to decline the ballot as a form of protest. If you choose to exercise this right, simply tell the deputy returning officer at the poll that you wish to decline the ballot. Your unmarked ballot will be placed in a special envelope and counted on election night. After declining the ballot, you cannot vote again at the election.


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