I did not have the “luxury” to vote in the last election, nor have I had that “luxury” ever since I’m eligible to vote (even though I have changed residence a couple of times).
There are many reasons why and how people choose to vote in an election; as much as I may disagree with some of these, I respect those decisions. To me, however, voting is a matter of principles. [Disclosure: My political inclination, I believe, is very well documented in other posts, so my choice is quite apparent.]
If I have the chance to vote, and there are no credible opposition candidates around, I would rather cast an invalid vote. My guiding principle is that one should not vote for a candidate for the lack of a better choice.
A vote carries with it the mandate to represent the voter. If one were to vote without conviction for a candidate, he/she could end up granting this mandate to the wrong person for the wrong reason.
Collectively, the “mandate” could give the triumphant party the false impression that the electorate is happy with its performance and proposals. The stronger the “mandate”, the greater that impression; just as power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.