Please Vote Formally

In Australia voting is compulsory, but often people who can’t be bothered do an “informal” ballot, one which does not meet the criteria for a definite vote. Apparently the former Labour leader Mark Latham was asking people to vote informaly “to send a message” – but that doesn’t make any sense at all. Robert Norris’s post on why he’s voting Green has a nice quote from the Conscience Vote blog:

And when you go to the polls tomorrow, don’t – don’t, I beg you – cast an informal vote. If you can’t stand either of the major parties, put your vote where your heart is – and don’t let anyone tell you that it won’t count. Because you can bet that when the figures finally come in from the Electoral Commission, strategists and analysts from both sides will be going over the fine detail. Every vote that bleeds to the Greens or a minor party is a signal of discontent with the status quo.

And you’re not “sending a message”, regardless of what Mark Latham tells you. You’re just lumped in with every ballot paper that was incorrectly filled in, illegible or just plain doodled on. If you want to send a message, do it with a valid vote.

Every single vote matters.

So no matter who you want to vote for, go do it, and do it properly.