My political despondency

I promised to write about Tuesday’s leaders’ debate, but you’ll note that I haven’t.

I watched the debate, updated my Facebook status with a number of comments during the debate, and thought about the debate afterward. Then, when it came time to go through it again for quotes and specific points, my plan fell to pieces.

I’m glad we’re going to the polls, but that’s all I’m happy about. I’m deeply disappointed in the platforms the parties have released for our approval. Every one of them has at least one absolute deal-breaker for me. I’m disappointed that the Conservatives run a secretive government headed by an absolute control-freak. I’m disappointed that an astonishing percentage of the public seems to have no problem with this. The Conservatives are in the lead according to the polls. Rather than merely running to win, Harper is running for a majority government. Given how this government has retained so much public support despite all the things it’s done, I’m wondering if Harper would lose the election if he were caught on video killing someone.

There’s no one I can vote for in good conscience. Upon realizing this, my first thought was that I’d vote for someone who I know has no chance. Maybe Green. They certainly won’t win the election, nor will they win my riding. But voting to essentially discard my vote feels dishonest. If I can’t stomach the candidate willing, I shouldn’t be casting a vote for him or her. What other options do I have? I skip voting entirely and I refuse to spoil my ballot because spoiled ballots are not counted. I want my say!

Then Don came to the rescue. He was sure there was some means by which you could register your dissatisfaction with all the candidates and still have your vote tallied. I expressed doubt, but he said he’d investigate.

I shouldn’t have doubted disaffected Don’s determination!

A ballot is spoiled when it is altered, defaced, destroyed, or marked in such a way that the voter is identifiable. Spoiled ballots are discarded, and can earn you a $500 fine or three months in jail for your trouble.

What Don discovered is that leaving the ballot entirely blank has the deputy returning officer reject it. Unlike spoiled ballots, rejected ballots are counted. In the 2008 federal election, there were 94,733 rejected ballots.

Not voting isn’t an option for me, but I can’t bring myself to pledge support for any of the candidates. ‘Blanking’ my ballot feels like the least of the available evils.

3 thoughts to “My political despondency”

  1. Huh. That is certainly useful information to have on hand. I think we may even be in the same riding, Rick. The approach I plan to take for this election is what I would term “technically pure” in the sense that, pursuant to the actual ballot you cast, you are only voting for a candidate in your riding. (We know that which party forms government and who becomes Prime Minister flows from that, but, technically, we only get to vote for one thing — a local candidate.) So I’ll be looking into the local candidates to see if there’s anyone I can get behind. Also, if I understand correctly, parties get some amount of party for each vote cast in their favour ($5 or so); I may find that appropriate incentive to vote for a party who I think can constructively use a bit of funding to build up useful policy papers.

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