I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to get people voting again. It’s terrible having 57 to 73% of available voters being able to bring a government into office. Kinda disgraceful really. I have looked into and explored many, 3 seem to be the best way to go. Although 2 are quite infantile to me, they should be mentioned.
~There is the Australian model, mandatory with a penalty for not voting.
The penalties can be public humiliation, fines or even jail. It is the broadest used. hmm! I don’t know, it doesn’t sound very Canadian, does it?
~We could use bribery; in the form of tax credits, or a fee paid to voters.
I think about what we have done to our society by removing corporal punishment as the high end of our child rearing, in lieu of bribery for good behaviour and punitive measures for bad behaviour. As a result we have a huge part of our young adult population that are despondent, short sighted, and have a low self-esteem, no self respect and a no self control. Voting based on apathy I feel would be far worse than not voting at all.
*voting with no apathy would also continue our current direction of non-intelligent voting, no looking at the party policies, looking into political directions and how it applies to each of us. We all may as well put a ring in our nose and be led around like cattle.
~Then there is the blank ballot. This has struck me since I first thought about it, I cannot remember when that was but likely in high school. (many, many moons ago-ROFL), but who is counting, right! >>> anyway
It seems like such a simple thing but the power it instills in all of us is incredible. The biggest problem at election time, as having discussed with my friends is that there is no political party that reflects what they want. No party and no representatives in their ridings, even among the independents. I know it has always been a problem, right. Well the problem has been exacerbated by our own apathy in some cases despondence plus a national news media that have sold out journalistic integrity for a quick buck and replaced the honesty of being neutral with self-importance.
1.So now, how do we return integrity back to the whole electoral system, without having to rebel against what we helped create.
2.how do we return our power to hold politicians accountable for the lies, deceit, and backroom dealings we have surrendered to them.
Lets look at the 2005 election of Steven Harper. In recent memory it has had the notoriety of being one of the lowest voter turn outs. I think 62% of eligible voters gave The Conservatives a 34% share of the House of Commons in a minority government. The Liberals ended up with 25% and the Official Opposition standing. Really, wouldn’t you agree that is pathetic. We are the single most unique country in the world… bar none. We achieved that because of the way we grew our society and sociology. We have to be better than this.
Given these numbers what if we allow a blank ballot as a protest vote rather than a spoiled ballot. Right now we have to place an ‘X’ in the box, any other mark denotes a spoiled ballot and is saved and counted. A blank ballot is not just garbaged, but it should be for all the good it does right now. It is counted but sometimes months after the election and only for statistical data. We loose our protest value in a spoiled ballot because in ridings where the race is close, a group of judges and election officials go through the spoiled ballots and move those deemed having indicated a decisive choice are moved to that result for the recount. Bang, your protest vote is gone plus if the marking is not legible there is the possibility of facing criminal charges. That brings us back to the blank ballots and the 38% who couldn’t be bothered to vote. (38% wow, really! In a democracy! It isn’t a right, it has to be an obligation).
With a counted blank ballot, let’s look at that example again. Using 57% in my opening was not a loose number pulled out of the air. In fact it is in the example, With the voter card we receive in the mail, Statistics Canada knows how many people actually showed up to vote, the 62% now if 5% are blank ballots and not counted til later that means the Conservatives would have been voted in on 57%, the 5% difference was a vote notwithstanding or zero (0) net result. That means the actual non voters is 43% not 38. Knowing that, what will the response be of ALL the political parties and independent politicians. Considering you could create a new political party and sit it as the Government with the non-voters alone, that would scare any political party, seriously, especially one that feels they can dictate policy to the people.
So by using a blank ballot, you will return the power of the Government back to the people, by exercising your obligation to the country you have re-enforced that the Government serves the people not vice-versa. We also force, in some cases humiliate the politicians and their parties into actually working on finding common ground with their constituents. It would force the grass roots organization of all the parties to do everything from reworking party policy to visiting the people whom they represent, or everyone would be back at the drawing board finding out what is important to us.
Our very future hinges on discussions like this. So let’s begin.
First, blank ballots are counted but are not used as a tool for the electorate. They get counted sometimes months after an election and used as statistical data only pertaining to that particular election. Since they are recognized as legitimate ballots use then as such.
Regaurdless blank ballots can be counted just as quickly and effeciently as counting legally designated ballots. This would make them available for minute by minute reporting of election results riding by riding. Since blank ballots are recognized by law, there is no constitional issue involved in using them as I have suggested, only a simple Parliamentary vote is all that is required. Therefore my recommendation still stands it is only easier to have our MPs instate it.
This is an e-mail I sent to Ottawa, The Standing Committee on Procedures and House Affairs; Mr. Stockwell Day, my MP.
Email to Ottawa and the office of Stockwell Day, my MP
I have an inquiry as to the procedure required to have a blank ballot recognized as a legally cast vote. Currently as I understand a blank ballot, one avoid of any marks are not recognized. I have 3 points for the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to consider about legally cast blank ballots.
1st – If a constituent feels there is no party or independent candidate that represents their views, in accordance with the current rules on voting procedure they are encouraged not to vote. This becomes evident when you consider the current legislation, their vote will not be counted if he/she casts a blank ballot.
~ with the a dismal voter turn out over the last several decades, this could well be a start in getting the people back into the polling booths.
2nd – If a constituent understands that there is a vote they can make if they have no direct representation. With most people I have talked to, they would be more likely to consider, mindfully, the policy platform of the of the political parties in their constituency plus the views and stand points of individual candidates both party affiliated and independent.
3rd – A blank ballot will provide an invaluable amount of statistical information at the constituency level, by the party affiliated and independent candidates, where the constituents may be feeling they have been forgotten about in drastic or dramatic policy shifts. Common trends from multiple constituencies from like minded candidates both party affiliated and independent. Common trends in the mind set of Canadians on subjects pertaining to their views across the country and where they see themselves in the world.
recipients: the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs; the Honourable Stockwell Day, MP
*special note: e-mails were sent mid January I still have not recieved a reply from either. The updates I did November 6 marks a new push to get answers. Stockwell Day is retired I have a new MP and there are a lot of independent politicians to force issues. I cannot count on people acting on this blog or they would have already.
*special note ii: Please leave a comment and check out this fb page we are not alone!!!
I removed the facebook page link for “Canadians against voter apathy”, with their conduct they feed into voter apathy rather than standing against it. I also apologize to anyone who followed the link there looking for answers.