When I was younger, I was adamant that if you didn’t vote, you lost your right to complain about the government. I was pretty hardline on this.
If you know anything about my voting habits now, you’ll know that I’ve softened on this.
By all means, do go out and investigate the options for your vote. Make an informed decision. But, if after taking all the details in, there isn’t a candidate/party combination that meets whatever criteria you have to make a ballot box choice, not showing up is acceptable.
Is drawing a penis on your ballot a better way to protest? I guess. In the end, your protest vote still falls on the ears of the politicians that were able to gain the confidence of 35% of the total of the 60% that voted and claim that they have a “CLEAR MANDATE FROM THE ELECTORATE.”
Guess what? You certainly don’t have a mandate. You’ve got less than HALF the votes in the country. You (and your asshat fellow leaders) gamed the system such that you were able to alienate 40% of the population, and since you only need to be one vote better than the next asshole, you found a way to win. This is NOT a mandate.
Wait, but if we had ballot boxes full of penises, then maybe we’d see real change, you say.
I doubt it.
A (generally) declining voter turnout should spurn action, but it doesn’t. Why does such a large portion of the population need to show up to draw a penis for action to start happening? I think it has something to do with the fact that our democracy isn’t that mature, I’ll grant that. But, with the rash of minority governments, it was looking like Canada was going to start moving towards a more collaborative Legislature, where parties would have to work together (in the interest of the electorate, shocking, I know) in order to get things done.
Will the government be a little more unstable? Yes, especially in the early years of the transition as the parties figure out how to work in the framework of the new-normal. The way Canada (and Alberta) needs to evolve. One-party dominance over the legislature is not what is best for all.
But, you say – how does this all relate to your premise that not voting is the same as a penis ballot? I don’t know. Maybe I’ve changed my mind halfway though this post. I know that I feel that not voting is a valid response to the system. That’s part of freedom – the freedom to not exercise the right to vote.
But, I’ll tell you this: voting for someone that you feel is the ‘lesser’ of two evils is still voting for evil and you SHOULD NOT SETTLE.