Please vote, even if you only spoil your ballot

I understand completely why lots of people refuse to vote – that has often been how I have thought too over the last few years. There is a catalogue of reasons: the main parties are all the same, they are all in the pay of big business, the smaller parties and independents don’t stand a chance, the party system is broken, no one represents your views, there’s no option for none of the above, voting doesn’t change anything… and the list goes on.

If you just can’t bring yourself to vote for any of the candidates, I urge you to spoil your ballot instead. You can even have fun with it, draw a picture or write something witty. Just don’t take a photo while you’re in the voting booth because that is illegal. (So as to protect against any compulsion about who you vote for.) It is true that spoiling your ballot won’t directly lead to change but I believe it would at least counter the idea that people don’t vote out of apathy and they just don’t care about politics. I think it’s worth spoiling your ballot paper just so that the politicians and journalists can’t keep saying that no one cares what happens.

That said, I will be voting this time. Part of the reason for this is that elections for the European Parliament use proportional representation and so the less popular parties can still get an MEP. This does of course mean that far-right parties may also get an MEP.

Obviously the far-right BNP, UKIP and nationalists are not even in the running as far as I’m concerned, nor the right-wing or  neoliberal parties like Conservatives, Labour or LibDems. There are parties that I could vote for though, and maybe you can too. You could consider the Green Party, the Pirate Party (who are in some ways similar to the Greens) and the National Health Action Party who are standing up for the NHS. Of those I only have the Green Party as a choice so they’ll get my vote this time. There are smaller more local parties in some areas too so check who they are and what they promise before you go to vote.

If you don’t want to go and vote on Thursday I’ll understand why. I don’t think voting should be compulsory and I don’t think refusing to vote is an insult to anyone’s ancestors. But if you don’t want to vote for any of the options available I’d be very pleased if you would spoil your ballot instead.