Ontario election: Some voters can actually choose “None of the Above” in upcoming election

By Marina Wang

Voters in the Thornhill riding in the Greater Toronto Area can look to the bottom of the candidate list and check off a square marked “Above, Znoneofthe” for the June 7 election. A 48-year-old man has legally changed his name to Above Znoneofthe and runs for the None of the Above Party in Ontario.

The None of the Above Party aims to “elect independent MPPs who are not bound by party control and who truly can represent their constituents first,” according to their website. “We support the 3Rs of Direct Democracy: Referendum, Recall and Responsible Government laws for true Legislative and Electoral Reforms.” The fringe party has 42 candidates out of 134 ridings in Ontario.

“The main thing that the party and I wanted to see was an actual None of the Above square on the ballot,” said Znoneofthe. “If you’re going to have everybody vote, you have to give them the option to say they don’t like their choices.” Voters can formally decline their ballot at voting stations, but according to Znoneofthe, not enough people know about this option.

“I think the tougher the choice is, the more negative campaigns go, more people feel like they don’t want to vote at all,” said Znoneofthe. In the 2014 Ontario election, voter turnout was at 51%. This time around, some voters may find themselves caught in a lesser of three evils situation and abstain from voting. “If some of the None of the Above people won, that would send a message to all the parties to provide better platforms and more things that would interest more of the people,” he said.

Interestingly, Znoneofthe changed his name before being involved with the fringe party. Formerly known as Sheldon Bergson, Znoneofthe changed his name for the 2015 federal election. On the federal ballot, Znoneofthe’s name would appear last name first—as Znoneofthe Above—but in the provincial ballot, the given name is listed first—as Above Znoneofthe. The “Z” is so his name can appear at the bottom.

When Znoneofthe ran for the Whitby-Oshawa by-election in 2016, he discovered there already was a None of the Above Party. “It turned out that the by-election had a none of the above person and the None of the Above Party running against each other,” said Znoneofthe with a chuckle. After speaking to the None of the Above Party leader, Greg Vezina, Znoneofthe joined the party.

In a by-election in Sault Ste. Marie Znoneofthe gathered 330 votes, and this time around he hopes to do better. He introduces himself as Above Znoneofthe but also goes by Sheldon.

“If I could hit 1% that would be great,” he said.