On March 9th I ticked the “spoil your ballot” box for SMUSA President. Now, not that I’m under any obligation to tell you this, I think it’s important for people to understand why I did so. In practice, spoiling your ballot is often looked down upon as “not voting” or “wasting your right to vote” when it is actually the opposite. How are candidates supposed to know how many people are angry with the system or the whole line-up of candidates if you don’t vote? Voting for their “enemy” is one option but perhaps their opponent’s policies don’t align with yours; should you vote for someone that you don’t support just in order to spite another candidate? No. That’s how you end up with hated governments and bitter constituents. This is why spoiling your ballot is an option in our country. Spoiling a ballot is a silent, and (most times) anonymous way to show your displeasure with the election that you’re voting in. Additionally, I think that if more people knew that this was a valid option, more people would turn up to vote. The number one reason we hear for people not voting is because they don’t believe their vote matters. Well imagine if, in the SMUSA elections for example, the 80% of students who didn’t vote, spoiled their ballots? Would that not send a HUGE message to SMUSA that there’s something they’re missing? I think so. I guess all I’m trying to say is that voting is important, even if all you do is spoil your ballot and voice in a democratic way that you’re upset, angered, or disheartened.