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Voting on the fringe: Why protest votes could have a big impact on election results?

Last Updated May 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm EST

Could voting for a fringe party this upcoming provincial election have a big impact on the election results?

The None of the Above Direct Democracy Party — considered a so-called fringe party — was formed during the 2014 election by former Green Party candidate Greg Vezina.

During the election, they only had eight candidates and got 0.1 per cent of the popular vote.

Fast forward to four years later and the party has picked up some steam.

They now have some support in the 42 ridings where they have nominated candidates.

Vezina said this shows that the people of Ontario are looking for alternatives to the current majority parties.

“We want people to know that there are 28 parties and that they have the right to know what their policies are,” says Vezina. “We want people to know that we don’t live in a democracy. If there is not a small party candidate that they like, they should decline their ballot in record numbers.”

It’s a shift that fringe parties hope could get eventually win them seats, but one political expert tells us even if this party doesn’t win a single seat, the None of the Above Party — and others like it — could actually sway or change the election results.

“In terms of an impact, I won’t say that a fringe party has never impacted politics,” said Christo Aivalis, a postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Toronto.

“Because the realities of in first-past-to-post-system, if they get enough votes in the right riding and that changes an electoral result and that result means the difference between who wins or forms a minority government, they certainly could play a role,” Avialis said. “If they’re in a riding that is close, any fringe vote, any spoiled ballot, anyone choosing not to mark a ballot could influence a very close election result.”

Ontario heads to the polls on June 7.


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