If I hear another friend tell me they’re going to vote informally at the election, I’m going to scream.
And not a little angry squeak of a scream; a Sarah Michelle Geller in I Know What You Did Last Summer kind of blood-curling howl.
The 2010 federal election saw a distinct increase in the number of informal ballots; from 3.95 per cent in 2007 to 4.6 per cent in 2010.
That figure was the highest in almost 30 years. While many explanations for this have been put forward, it seems that a decent number of those people who voted informally did so on purpose. They were frustrated with the limited options before them.
And in this election? That number is likely to climb again.
Now, I understand that Australians feel angry and let down by the two major parties. I know it can seem like there isn’t a lot of choice on offer at this election. I realise that many people don’t like or trust politicians and are exhausted by too much spin and not enough substance. And lots of people I’ve spoken with are looking for a channel to vent their frustration. They want to send a message to our elected representatives that they’re dissatisfied.
I get that.
The conversation every 18-year-old is avoiding. Watch GetUp’s campaign to get 18-year-olds enrolled to vote. Post continues after video.
But the absolute worst possible way to send a message is to vote informally. Here’s why.
1. Donkey voting isn’t a protest. It’s ridiculous.
Donkey voting isn’t technically informal voting but it is a strategy so ridiculous that we need to get it out of the way from the outset.