Canadian man makes history after receiving zero election votes: ‘I am the true unity candidate’

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A Canadian man has made history by receiving zero votes in a contested federal election, after running as part of a protest over the lack of electoral reforms in the country.

“When I saw the result, I was like: ‘Well, I am the true unity candidate. Everyone agrees not to vote for me,’” Félix-Antoine Hamel told CBC News.

Hamel was among 84 people who listed as a candidate in a recent by-election held in Toronto. He put his name forward as a candidate after he was approached by the Longest Ballot Committee, which works on electoral reform advocacy.

As a key campaign promise, Justin Trudeau promised that if his party won power, the 2015 federal election would be the last under the first-past-the-post system. After his government won a landslide majority, however, he abandoned the promise.

The Longest Ballot Committee says the current system skews power into the hands of parties wining a minority of the vote. In protest, the group successfully put 77 names on the Toronto ballot, bringing the total to 84 and slowing efforts count votes in Monday’s closely-watched election. Scrutineers were forced to sift through paper ballots measuring a meter in length: the longest ever in Canadian history.

“The unusual dimensions of the ballot itself meant that some steps took more time than normal,” an Elections Canada spokesperson said in a statement. “Delays compounded across several steps over the course of the night.”

When the results had been finalized, six other candidates received two votes each, but Hamel was the candidate one not to receive a single vote.

Hamel lives hundreds of miles away from the electoral district, in Montreal, and because he lives outside Toronto, he couldn’t vote for himself.

Previous federal elections have seen zero-vote results, but in those cases, the candidates were running unopposed and were thus acclaimed as winners. Hamel’s feat marks the first time someone has won zero votes – and lost.

“I’m one of the last people that would be expected to make Canadian history in any way,” he said.


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