In the News May 29
Ontario Election 2022
In this Election, a Good Option Is to Decline Your Ballot!
The extent to which many Ontarians are disgusted with elections which don’t represent them, and this Ontario election in particular, is leading them to either not participate or, to the best of their ability, cast a protest vote.
Ontario’s election law allows a voter to decline their ballot. To decline your ballot, tell the election official that you are declining your right to vote when they hand you a ballot. This is a public process done out loud.
The election official will mark “declined” on the back of the ballot. Your ballot will not be placed in the ballot box but in an envelope for declined ballots.
The system of party government is so discredited and self-serving that an increasing number of people either do not participate or are declining their ballots. Elections Ontario’s post-election report in 2014 noted that more voters declined their ballot that year than in any other Ontario election since 1975. In 2014, 29,937 ballots were formally declined. In the 2018 election, 22,684 electors formally declined their ballot.
“A declined ballot is not the same as a rejected ballot, a process by which the deputy returning officer rejects the ballot for not being clearly marked. And it is not the same as failing to mark a ballot. The declined ballot declares an intention not to vote and thus cannot be misconstrued as a failure to adhere to ballot marking rules,” the 2014 report said.
CBC reports that “Windsor politician Paul Synnott launched an online campaign in 2014 called Decline Your Vote.” Another CBC report quoted David Erland who lives in Port Hope saying:
“I realized that for as long as I continued to use our existing electoral system to cast my vote, I was giving that system my tacit approval.”
Calling himself a “wannabe” voter, “he insists no issue or policy promise would sway him to cast a vote for a party, until he sees a change to our electoral system. He feels his vote doesn’t matter and the system causes a lack of representation,” CBC wrote.
An Ontario Political Forum correspondent reported on a discussion amongst a group of workers on which party supports labour or labour is supporting. Commenting on the alleged union support for Ford, one worker pointed out that the PC government funds the training centres for the building trades and gets votes that way. He commented on the NDP pitch that people should vote for them because they currently have 40 seats so have the best chance of defeating Ford. “This is the most pathetic reason why anyone should vote NDP,” the worker said.
Another worker added: “Both Liberal and PC governments have used our tax money to give to contractors so the building trades union leaders say workers should vote for whichever one is likely to win so they get the jobs. It shows workers have no say in the economy or elections.”
Another worker also posed the question of what these elections mean for labour. “We say we need to set our own agenda and have our own politics. None of the parties represent us. I’m declining my ballot,” he said.
Another added: “They are cartel parties. There is no one to vote for. I am declining my ballot too. The problem is the people are shut out of any discussion on the direction of the province. Everything is secret and back room deals.”
He pointed to how the cartel parties refuse to permit certain candidates to run without making the reasons public or letting the people decide. He said the deal between NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau and the purchase of the fighter jets were also secret deals struck behind the backs of the people. “The people had no role to play or even any knowledge of these deals,” he said.
Regarding which party represents labour, another worker pointed out that in the late 1990s the NDP changed its constitution to take control over the riding associations. Riding associations no longer have control over selecting candidates or anything else. They have become meaningless, he said.
Another said the elections are a fraud. “Capitalism is the problem,” he said. “As long as the oligarchs have all the power there won’t be anyone to vote for who represents the people. There’s no democracy,” he said. He would vote for a small party candidate, he said.
(With files from Elections Ontario, CBC, OPF correspondent)
Ontario Political Forum, posted May 29, 2022.