As a Canadian citizen you're probably familiar with the voting process. In the last 5 years we've been to the polls twice and are gearing up for another. You've probably even voted provincially in that timespan. You might be thinking then, what's new? What is different about this election...

There are a few things. For one there's the platforms on which the politicians are running, but that's mostly old news; so what about the rules? Yeah, the rules of the vote. No, we didn't finally pass voting reform. There will be no proportional representation in this election, but there is an important rule that has changed...

Do not eat your ballot!

That's right! There will be not ballot eating this time around. Now, you might be asking yourself, "do we really need to have this as a rule?" and the answer is yes! In During the 2000 Canadian federal election, a number of voters (chiefly in Edmonton, Alberta) ate their ballots, as part of what they dubbed the Edible Ballot Society, to protest what they saw as inherently unfair elections. The stunt led Elections Canada to propose that there be legislation allowing federal ballots to be officially refused.

So there you have it; you can still enjoy eating your provincial election ballots, but don't try those games at the federal boxes. I should, however point out that it is legal to spoil your ballot. My favourite thing to do is make clever use of the 4 circles they give you. I'm sure you can find a four letter word that might accurately sum up your feelings for a federal election... Just remember that a spoiled ballot is counted, but a refused ballot is simply a "no vote" and doesn't account for a thing.

Cheers to the wacky Canadians, they'll have to be more creative in fighting democracy!

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