Observe our democracy! Citizens must vote and elect their representatives for Canada’s elected parliament to be legitimate. But a smaller and smaller percentage of eligible voters are voting in elections.
Although voter turnout rates change over time, a trend is visible. In federal elections, 75 per cent of voters voted in 1988, 65 per cent in 2006, and 59 per cent in 2008.
This makes some political parties happy. Political parties encourage their own members to vote. They would celebrate if everyone else did not vote – as they would win the election.
Perhaps that is why some parties spend so much money on negative attack ads to tell voters not to vote. Every election, voters hear, ‘do not vote’. And they listen.
However, political parties want to be seen as friends of democracy. They pretend to care about voter turnout and to want to raise political participation.
The federal Conservative party is pretending to care. When everyone wes watching the Olympics they rushed Bill C-23 from first to second reading. Citizen participation is so important that it must be done quickly, without any discussion from citizens.
Low voter turnout makes elections easier. Instead of counting millions of voters’ ballots, it is simpler if only one voter dictates the result!
Citizens are not clueless. There may be reasons why so many citizens do not vote. It may be true that there is no candidate in their riding whom they would consider supporting.
Wait! voter turnout is not about voting, it is about voters turning out!
You do not need to vote for a candidate. You have choices. Not having someone to vote for is no excuse for why not to vote. You can increase voter turnout by not voting also!
There are four ways to not vote for the ballot choices you are given.
Decline your ballot – At your election polling station, receive your ballot, but do not go to the screen and instead ask for the deputy returning officer (DRO) of the poll to register that you have received your ballot and that you choose to decline to vote. The DRO will collect your unused ballot in a special envelope. Your ballot will not be put in the ballot box, but your declined ballot will be recorded in the voter turnout count.
Spoil your ballot – At your election polling station, receive your ballot, go behind the screen, and purposely disfigure it by marking it in an incorrect way (ex. scribbling over the whole ballot, marking multiple candidates, drawing hearts and horseshoes on the ballot). Fold your ballot and drop it into the ballot box. Your spoilt ballot will be discarded as a rejected invalid vote, but it will be recorded in the voter turnout count.
Leave your ballot blank – At your election polling station, receive your ballot, and do not mark it. Then fold your ballot and drop it into the ballot box. Your blank ballot will be discarded as an unmarked ballot, but it will be recorded in the voter turnout count.
Do not vote – Go to work, or stay home, or go fly a kite. You are too busy to find 10 minutes every four years to vote in an election. Avoid your polling station. Do not receive your ballot. Do not vote. Let someone else dictate who gets elected to raise your taxes and pass laws against you. Give up your identity as an empowered “citizen” and “voter” and become a passive “consumer” and “taxpayer.” Without voting, you do not show up in the voter turnout count.
Too many eligible voters do not know their choices. You are not limited to voting for the candidate whom you loathe the least.
Not voting sounds hard. Maybe there are too many choices of how not to vote. Do not worry if you are confused. You do not have to not vote. There is an alternative.
Do what most voters do: do your research, be informed of the issues, and vote for a candidate in your riding!
Editor’s Note: The Monologue is the satire issue of The Dialog. All content in this issue is intended as satire or humorous commentary and makes no claim to be accurate, factual, or truthful. Please don’t sue us.