Are you unsatisfied with the candidates this election? There's a little-known option that allows you to vote for none of them while still exercising your democratic right.
It's called 'declining your vote,' and it's a valid method of voting that shouldn't be confused with not showing up to vote. A declined vote is simply a way for you to show your dissatisfaction with the current political system, and it's left on the official record just like any other vote.
According to the Ontario Elections Act, a voter must declare to a deputy returning officer that he or she is declining to vote at the polling station. The deputy returning officer will then mark the person's ballot with the word 'declined' on the back before submitting it to the poll record.
You could also 'spoil' your ballot (invalidate your vote by writing outside the candidate circles) or simply not show up in order to dismiss your vote; however, such ways would not send the same message as a declined vote.
Declining your vote is a clear way to show that you demand a change in the way things are being done. Contrastingly, the other two options make it harder for election officials to understand exactly what you may (or may not be) protesting.
During the last election, declined votes hit a two-decade high when Ontarians had to choose between Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne and PC leader Tim Hudak. Almost 30,000 people declined their votes, which actually only made up 0.6 per cent of all votes received.
Will you be declining your vote this election?