Why on earth would you decline your ballot?

Lately, I’ve been seeing lots of posts on Facebook and Twitter giving instructions on how Ontario voters can decline their ballot on election day. There are articles, and even a website extolling the virtues of declining your ballot on election day.

Perhaps I’m overly skeptical, but I’ve been wondering who is benefitting from this campaign? While it is your right to decline your ballot, I wonder about who is behind this push. Why? Because I think its worth thinking about. Who benefits if you decline your vote? How will politicians react to an increase in the number of declined votes? They won’t. They will, in the end, do what politicians do, and play to those who voted for them. They will make choices based on the demographic that votes for them, or that votes at all. And declining your ballot is not voting.

So I wonder to myself, who benefits if people decline their ballot? My skeptical brain thinks its the Tim Hudak and his conservatives. But it doesn’t matter. I tried to do some digging and find out who the website declineyourvote.ca was registered to. But that information isn’t available. Even the about section on the website doesn’t state who is behind it. So that makes me suspect that one of the parties is behind it. Since I don’t like Tim and his cronies, my brain makes me think its him. But let’s be honest, it could also be the Ontario Liberals or even the NDP. I can think of reasons why they would all benefit.

Think of it like this: Declining your vote will not prevent that politician you hate from being elected. Since it takes your vote out of the equation, it may in fact make it more likely that this politician will find themselves in power. Because you didn’t vote. Because declining your vote isn’t the same as voting.

So, do your civic duty. Take part in the election. And choose a candidate. Because that’s what voting is.

Mayor Ford still Mayor Ford

So, Toronto news today is abuzz with the fact that Rob Ford won his Conflict of Interest appeal. And there are lots of people who are upset. And you know what? I’m one of them. As a mayor, the man is a failure. He’s a bully. He’s a crybaby. He’s lazy. And he shirks his duty (I don’t know what else to call skipping the job he’s PAID TO DO, to go coach football).

But all that aside, I think we have to look on the bright side here. Let’s look at what might have happened if he had lost the appeal. First, there would have been the epic tantrum from both Ford, his brother, and the Sun. The requisite rants against activist judges and the theft of the people’s democratic choice would have ensued. The Sun would probably have offered Ford a weekly column, in which he would rant about the waste at city hall and how he’s the only one that can protect the taxpayer from it; you know, all stuff he says every day. He’ll probably get to keep his radio show, in which he’ll say the same things he always does. But the difference will be he has this thing of having been “unjustly” removed from office going for him. And then in 2014, he will run again and the same people who voted him in the first time will vote him in again.

No its better this way. Let him stay in office for the next two years and bury himself under his own incompetence. And then in 2014, those of us who want better, will have to commit ourselves to backing a candidate and making sure that Ford answers for every gaffe, lie and embarrassment. It will be up to use to make sure he doesn’t get in again. And we’d better do everything we can to make sure that he doesn’t.