Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why I will not decline my ballot

Ontario's Provincial election is tomorrow.

There's no doubt that this election is all about who is the lesser evil.  So, in the absence of great options, there's this "None of the Above" option catching on, declining ballots as a protest.

I see the appeal.  It really shows the political parties, "You need to earn my vote; I pay attention to politics, and you could have won my support had you tried harder, but you didn't."  (As distinct from simply not showing up, which illustrates apathy, or intentionally spoiling a ballot, which illustrates that you don't know how to follow the directions.)

The problem is that, in the mean time, there's still an important election up for grabs, with a close race, where voter turnout is likely to be quite low, at the end of which one of these options - awful as they may be - will form a government.  Meaning that, by not being counted, you're giving your voice to the relatively small handful of people who will vote for one of the parties.  And unless you're completely ambivalent about which party wins, that's a bad thing.  It will not incent the winning party to make changes, because, hey, they still won.

I have my opinions about which party is the lesser evil.  And so I will vote for that party, not because I think they've earned my vote, but because it is the only input I have into the Province's governance, and I only get to exercise my voice once every four years or so.  Given that, when I have the opportunity to speak, I think that it's important to say something constructive, rather than simply protesting that I don't like the options.

Folks, I think all the politicians know that we regard the choices as awful.  The Conservatives have got to be shocked that this isn't a walkover, and the Liberals clearly recognize that they have to do damage control.  Rather than going out to tell them something they already know, go out to have your say in terms of which one you prefer to govern - or, if nothing else, which ones you prefer *not* to govern.

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