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Notes About Votes, Provincial Edition

September 27, 2011

Ontario goes to the polls on October 6. Get out and be democratic. You don’t even have to wait: there are advance polling stations in your community.

For more info, check out Elections Ontario.

For even more info, consult the Elections Act itself.

ID

Unlike with Federal elections, you don’t need much ID:

  • a) if you’re on the voter’s list, just provide something with your name.
  • b) if you’re not on the list, provide something with your name and address.
  • c) if, for some reason, you’re on the list but you don’t have ID, you will complete a Statutory Declaration.
  • d) if you’re not on the list and don’t have ID, then you must obtain your ID so we can add you to the list.

UNMARKED AND REJECTED BALLOTS

Ballots going into the box with nothing on them are Unmarked, while those that are unacceptable for other reasons are Rejected. Rejected ballots consist of:

  • a) a “ballot” that is not an official ballot supplied by the elections officer.
  • b) a ballot marked for more than one candidate.
  • c) a ballot with some sort of identifying mark on it like your name or initials, or indeed any letters or numerals inscribed anywhere upon it.
  • d) a ballot with marks which extend beyond the circle so far as to enter the name field or another circle. Note that you needn’t make an ⊕ or a ⊗ : a happy face, peace symbol, yin-yang, or even an artfully executed illustration of male genitalia will all work..

PROTEST VOTE

I don’t presume that everyone approves of the candidates, or even approves of the Canadian political system. You can, if you’re so inclined, protest after a fashion by obtaining your ballot as usual from the Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) but then handing it back immediately, unmarked. You will be recorded by the Poll Clerk as having “declined to vote.” Your ballot will be set aside in its own category, Declined.  There is no point in trying to protest with unmarked or rejected ballots, as the point of the protest is the waiving of one’s democratic right, not the casting of useless ballots. If you cast a useless ballot, you are still recorded as having voted. But you have not voted for or against anyone, nor have you made a statement about the process.

CANCELLED BALLOTS

Any other ballot not entering the ballot box is called Cancelled. I.e., if you hand back your ballot because you messed it up (accidentally ripped it, marked it improperly). You give your unusable ballot to the DRO and get a new one. You get one do-over.

Happy voting!

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