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Posts Tagged ‘Election Act’

English: Ballot Box showing preferential votingI first discovered in 2007 that Canadian citizens who are residents in Ontario can vote for none of the above by declining their ballot. I personally availed myself of that option upon concluding that I couldn’t in all good conscience support the Ontario Green Party as an alternative to the obviously detrimental three major parties: Liberal, Progressive Conservative and NDP.

The Election Act, 1990 words it this way:

Declined ballot

53. 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. R.S.O. 1990, c. E.6, s. 53.

The wording makes it sound as if you’re throwing away your vote, but in reality, it’s effectively a vote for none of the above.

The importance of the option to decline your ballot is that it clearly shows that the voter is dissatisfied with the available candidates, demonstrating a principled stand, and not being lumped in with those who are simply too lazy to vote, or those who spoil their ballot intentionally or accidentally.

There is no such option at the federal level, despite a 2001 bill (C-319) that would’ve provided Canadian voters with such an opportunity in subsequent elections.

Not only did the Waterloo Region Record omit mention of Libertarian candidate, Allan Dettweiler, it also omitted mention of the option to decline your ballot.

Are they really unaware of this option, or are they deliberately omitting reference to it?

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