OPINION: Why we need to be able to vote 'none of the above'
BY LAW, you must pick one.
You don't have to like them, you don't need to know anything about them and you don't need a good reason.
Do you like the name Jenny more than the name Geoff? That's reason enough.
And that's reason enough for Geoff to take your vote and consider you as a strident supporter of his policies, no matter how ridiculous.
On Saturday when Queensland went to the polls, I heard someone quip, "I have no idea what I'm doing with my vote".
A stranger chimed in: "Don't worry, noone does".
We're prodded into the little cardboard voting booth and we pencil in our choices and away we go. Democracy in action.
Across the state, plenty of people decided to draw their own box and vote for Donald Trump - the loudmouth reality TV businessman running for the US Presidency.
These donkey votes tell the electoral commission that we're not taking the process seriously enough. We're not passionate enough.
But maybe we didn't love our candidates either.
In my division I voted against two of the candidates - one lost because he jumped on the anti-Muslim bandwagon, another lost his chance after being caught up in a local scandal.
In voting against those two, I went for the only other name on the ballot.
What if I wanted to vote against them too? Why should I have to pick the least bad candidate?
Why can't I say 'None of the above'?
Mandatory voting is critical to our democracy. We don't risk having the poor, the busy or the lazy missing out on their say like they do in the US.
But wonder how many voters on the weekend picked a name out of the hat when casting their ballot.
How many just went for who was on top. How many had to pick a candidate they truly did not want because there was no better option?
If you staunchly want to protest your voting options, you're lumped in with the people who couldn't manage to draw a "1" in the right box. You're lumped in with those who treat the process as a game, a gag or a prank.
If 10% of the population votes None of the Above, it sends a message to our candidates that a chunk of us are not convinced by their policies or personalities.
It would mean that we have our say, even if we don't want to say yes to any of the current field.