The vote to nowhere

Here's an idea. For those of you who are displeased with the voting process, with the constant barrage of "lesser evils" for candidates or both, let me explain how you can let the government know how you feel, even if its only on a local level to start.

First, let me start by explaining why you should protest the voting process. Most of us know and understand that once a person enters the voting booth they are typically voting for the candidate they detest the least, or the one they feel is less likely to make a bad system even worse. On rare occasions a person actually votes for a candidate they truly want in office, who isn't their friend or neighbor or someone they owe a favor to. This does not denote high voter confidence. This could also explain low voter turn out, and poor choices for candidates.

That said, I have always felt that voters should have the option to actively not vote for the candidates they don't want in office, while being able to caste a positive vote for the candidate they do want, if any. The idea here is that the voter can let candidate(s) know in no uncertain terms that they absolutely refuse to be the particular candidates constituents whatsoever. Perhaps even a spot for commentary as to why they are refusing to vote for the particular candidate(s). It is a deliberate non-vote for a candidate or group of candidates. It would be even better to show the candidates just how many people refused to vote for them. It would serve as massive blow to his or her Ego. Of course, logistically and practically speaking, this doesn't, and would not work out the way its intended to.

Since we can't do that, we are left to either vote for someone we don't really want, or not to vote at all in protest and be seen as apathetic, apolitical, twerps.

Of course, this is not the case at all.

Instead what we need to do is register to vote, get ourselves to the polling place on elections, and get in line. Once we get into that booth or get our ballots, the option to write in a vote is available. At this point the voter in protest should select the appropriate key (or button, circle or lever) for a write in vote, and fill in the portion with "NONE OF THE ABOVE".

By law write in votes have to be looked at. A "NONE OF THE ABOVE" vote won't be considered a valid vote, and therefore not counted, however the polling officials will still be required to read them, they will see the sentiment. If they see enough of them, then a point will start to be made.

This serves two purposes. One, it costs time and money by using their resources. Why should we allow our governing body save money because we are protesting a vote? Two, it creates a paper trail with a very loud and clear statement : We are actively NOT voting for any of the candidates, and are using this as a form of voting protest. If 1000 people come out to vote, and only 500 are direct votes, 100 are absentee, and 50 are considered valid write ins, that leaves 350 votes unaccounted for. After a while, people are going to want to know where those votes are, and who the votes are for. When they (be it the government, the parties, the candidates, the media) see that they are for "NONE OF THE ABOVE" and not for Mickey Mouse or Elvis - the picture will slowly come into focus.

This is a small and quiet form of protest that is perfectly within our rights to do. It will not solve the problem, but it could make a difference. It could certainly make you feel better for doing it too.

As an aside, Did you know that if you caste a provisional ballot, your vote does not count? Provisional ballots are the placebo of polling places. They are given to people whom the polling place cannot allow to vote, will not allow to vote, or to people they simply want to placate and make them think they've voted. Provisional ballots are held for a certain amount of time in case there is some massive problem and every single vote ever cast needs to be counted. Barring an election catastrophe the provisional ballots are typically thrown away after the waiting period - unopened, and uncounted.

Just food for thought.

No comments: