Ontario election: How to vote for 'none of the above'
If you don't like any of your local candidates hoping for your vote in the upcoming provincial election, there's a way you can cast a ballot without voting for any of them.
Published Tuesday, June 10, 2014 1:05PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 10, 2014 1:06PM EDT
If you don't like any of your local candidates hoping for your vote in the upcoming provincial election, there's a way you can cast a ballot without voting for any of them. Here’s a quick primer on how to make your choice: "None of the above."
The little-known option is the subject of an online campaign urging Ontario residents to decline their ballot in protest on June 12, rather than opting out of voting altogether.
A message posted on the Decline Your Vote website urges Ontarians to vote for their party or candidate of preference when possible, but also advises voters to cast a blank ballot if they're unhappy with all of their candidates.
The website was created to draw attention to Section 53 of the Ontario Elections Act, which states that voters unwilling to choose a candidate, or abstain from the process, can essentially vote for no one instead.
According to the law, voters who submit unmarked ballots will have their choice counted as "declined," and it will count towards the tally of voters who chose not to support any candidate at all.
The declined ballots are counted separately from those that have been "spoiled" with an illegible or otherwise unclear mark.
For a ballot to be declined, a voter must leave the ballot completely blank.
Declined ballots are often considered protest votes, sending a message to politicians that voters are unhappy either with politicians' behaviour, or with the options available.
Low voter turnout in Ontario elections
According to Elections Ontario, there were 2,335 declined ballots in the 2011 provincial election. In 2007, the total was 3,412.
The 2011 Ontario election set a new record in low voter turnout, when only 49.2 per cent of eligible voters casting ballots.
A report issued by Elections Ontario Monday showed that voter turnout at advanced polls dipped six per cent this year, compared to 2011, suggesting Thursday's election turnout may be even lower than in the past.
While Elections Ontario didn't publish data on why people are choosing not to vote, a Statistics Canada report found that 7.6 per cent of the people who skipped the ballot box in the last federal election did so because they didn't like any of the candidates.