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Do we really need to vote? Every time?

Forums Discussion Forums General Discussion Do we really need to vote? Every time?

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    Vivian Unger
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      • Posts: 15

    I know all the arguments for voting. I’ve made them. But that was back when I had a dream of one day having representation.

    Now I have a Green MLA and a Green MP. I have attained that Shangri-la. Little did I consider what I would do if it proved disappointing.

    I put a lot of volunteer time into helping both of them get elected. What has it gotten me? Neither one of them has done a thing for PR.

    Tonight, I have developed a new plan for future elections. As soon as an election is announced, I will let all the candidates know that I will only vote for a PR supporter. But it’s not enough for them to say to me, “Oh yes, PR is good, I support it, blah blah blah.” Or even to say it in a candidates Q&A when prompted by a Q.

    No. It needs to be in the flyers that they distribute door-to-door, or on their website, or other campaign materials. Or it needs to be something they bring up themselves, unprompted, at those candidate Q&As or interviews. They need to stick their neck out at least that much.

    I’ll vote for any candidate who does that, no matter whether the polls say they have a hope in hell.

    And if no candidate in my riding does that? Then I won’t vote.

    That’s my new rule. I’m tired of these people jerking me around and dropping me like a hot potato as soon as they get elected.

    Mark Henschel
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      • Posts: 47

    Isn’t the business-as-usual modus operandi of elected officials to turn their backs on their electorates after their election?

    OK… too cynical? Yeah. there are some good ones with their hearts in the right place… some of the time.

    But seriously…

    I think not voting — and more importantly training voters by example not to vote — is a slippery slope down which we are already sliding with uncertain footing. If we can avoid not voting, that would be good. But I agree that in most cases some institutional (electoral) changes are necessary to take us up the path towards nirvana.

    The simple fix to not voting is to incorporate a “no” into our electoral language… a “none of the above” choice. Even where the most articulate and productive electoral system — STV — is in use a NOTA choice is a useful, informative “word” on the ballot. And after all voting is part of a dialogue we (aka “us”) are having with the political classes (aka “them”). It behooves us in a representative democracy to express ourselves a clearly and completely as possible… it avoids misunderstanding and closes loopholes. But we’d have to get that implemented and it might be as hard to do that as it is to acquire an actually useful electoral system.

    All is not lost… in some cases. In Ontario, for instance, one can officially decline one’s ballot. This is a very deliberate electoral act quite distinct from making ballot errors (intentional or un- ) or other protests. It may not be as fun as grabbing your ballot, ripping it to shreds and jumping up and down on the fragments whilst screaming “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”… and then running like hell out of the poll.

    There’s a procedure — a ritual — to declining your ballot that you can make as theatrical as you like… so long as you accept the ballot, tell the officer that you are declining it and hand it back. The declined ballot gets handled separately from all other ballots; it’s distinctly articulate… which is what you want.

    With a little organization declined ballots can be more particularly articulate. During the Ontario ER referendum in 2007 I mounted a very modest campaign to have declined ballots say “Yes” to electoral reform but “No” to MMP.

    Moving on to the more general issue of the “say anything to get elected and become cloth eared later” representative I just want to say that PR is not the answer if it is party-centric and, more particularly party-functioned (which is why I will always say “No” to MMP). The only way to obtain representation that responds to your overtures before the election and will respect you in the morning is to have candidate-centric elections… which necessarily means intra-party choice on the ballot and mandates that approach the unanimous as opposed to being content below the 50% mark.

    A rep who is elected in large measure on the representations she makes to the electorate and with a significant mandate has an evident obligation to walk her talk.

    Hope this helps.


    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by Mark Henschel.
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Forums Discussion Forums General Discussion Do we really need to vote? Every time?