Posts Tagged ‘politics’

None Of The Above – a New Political Party

My prayers have been answered.  A new political party is born in Ontario.  Its called None Of The Above Party, (abbreviates to NOTA)!  Isn’t that wild?  Somehow this party has come into existence, been approved by Elections Ontario and fielded a slate of eight candidates, six of them in Mississauga–home of Hazel McCallion, possibly the oldest mayor in the world.  Did some of her famous practical reasoning rub off!  

NOTA is the brainchild of businessman Greg Vezina (pronounced Vesna or Vezna) who received honourable mention on TVO’s The Agenda May 29  show Pushing Out the Vote.  Good on Greg.  I then watched a friendly interview on NOTA’s facebook page.  My first impression was favourable despite NOTA having a thin platform.  Greg is one of those people, unlike me, who pay attention to the minutiae of politics (who-did-what-to-whom) and who I think would be quite valuable as an MPP, bringing concerns energetically to the floor that no other mainstream party would dare mention.  And if one or two managed to get elected– a miracle of the first order– I doubt Ontario or democracy or the economy would sink into the ocean any more than under the already crushing weight of our monumental provincial debt.  And it certainly is a development which brings into sharp focus that disenchanted voters are staying away in droves.

A more positive take is that NOTA would likely serve as a lightening rod for disaffected voters, who would undoubtedly fill the ears and minds of NOTA notables with all manner of issues that should be voiced at Queens Park.  Just what the doctor ordered, as my dad used to say.

Definitely this election just got more interesting.

Here’s the rub.

As detailed in my previous blog, I’d sent an email to Elections Ontario requesting/ demanding that voters be given the option of explicitly – ie. without confusion- indicating their displeasure by being able to select ‘none of the above‘ as a final option on the ballot.  I’d hoped that such a strategy would serve to increase turnout, and would serve to bring the stark reality home to politicians just how disillusioned many of us are.  Did I get what I wanted?  Nope.  Since NOTA has no candidate in my riding, I still cannot make clear my frustration except by declining my ballot, which,  as I said, is not explicit and could happen for any number of reasons.  Perhaps I’d have an argument with the returning officer or just get out of  bed on the wrong side that day.

What to do?  Should I take Elections Ontario to task, in court or otherwise for allowing a confusing party name?  Like if they gave me what I asked, they would have to print,  for the Mississauga riding, a line showing ‘none of the above‘ just below the line showing None Of The Above!! Confusing, no? Couldn’t the party have been called Disillusioned Voters Party?  Hey, like stuck cars on Toronto’s DVP!  🙂

I’d hate to give Elections Ontario an excuse to force  NOTA party candidates off the ballot.  And the idea of allowing a non-entity / non-person option onto the ballot is a bit far fetched, potentially necessitating another run-off election if more voters selected ‘none of the above‘ than any of the real candidates.  A good idea, imo, but one that would have to be legislated into existence as noted by nota.org,  an unrelated (US) website.

Hmm, what to do?  Let me know what you think and please stay tuned.  Hopefully you’ll be able to see my questionable visage somewhere in Mississauga helping this fledgling effort along.

Bob Curmudgeonly Innes

Voters, Decline Your Ballot

Well, the previous post was a bust, no?  Hoping to instigate a party for the downtrodden and … nada.  Not so much as a comment. Well, maybe it was a silly idea, given the short election cycle and the fact that my attempt to advertise in the Globe and Mail was dumb  since Globe readers are the most winningest in the system.

So if the rest of us ain’t a winner, I guess we’re the losers!? Party of Losers? Why not? The System here has three parties, let me reiterate: Party/Big Gov’t, Party/Big Biz, Party/Big Unions.  Each pretends to work for everybody, Joe the Plumber, the family, etc. As long as losers keep swallowing this lie, the status quo continues. As the pension & debt issues (unfunded liabilities) go unresolved, the music is building to a mighty crash. Wagner! Until the losers get their own party, there is no use for non-voters to vote.

As I said in previous blogs on this subject, ppl who don’t vote say: ‘ They’re all the same, they all lie, they do what they want anyway.’ If you want to see this spelled out, watch, if you can stomach it, TVO’s The Agenda. Their May 21 episode featured a number of such non-voters and a couple of  cynical System wonks who explained matter-of-factly why it is necessary for politicians to lie, etc. They give no solutions other than avoiding the Greens and being a smart enough lie detector, one who can guess the reality behind the lie and what will really ‘go down’. Natch, he didn’t really want you to wake up – and start a new party to properly represent the losers.

If you’re in the bottom third or the middle third, if you feel like you’ve been losing, what to do?  Well, you could pick a fringe or independent candidate that you do like.  However the way they/we’ve been dismissed by the media makes it so unlikely for any such candidate to ever be elected, that your vote, while at least honest, would be wasted. If you try to vote strategically, then you’re being dishonest and if you’re dishonest, it’s illogical and kinda dumb to expect the politician you vote for to be honest.  As they explained.

The only thing left to do,  is to make your unhappiness known to the System. Fortunately this can be done, more or less, by going to the polling station and asking to DECLINE your ballot. As Elections Ontario suggests below, declined votes are counted as people indicating  NOTA – none of the above. They also count  SPOILed  and BLANK ballots. Ballots are spoiled by goofs, scribbling, sloppy marks outside the allotted spaces or multiple marks. It is more difficult to ascribe an intent to a blank or spoiled ballot, since there could be ignorance, language difficulties, confusion etc .  and there is no way to decide for each case.  DECLINE your ballot instead.  Imperfect but better than nothing.

If you’d like to help spread this message, I think we should post yellow stickies with the words ‘DECLINE YOUR BALLOT JUNE 12’ printed in bold.  Stick them everywhere, including on election signs. The better they stick, the more they say, the more ppl will be educated about their real options.

Results for my riding in previous election

  • “Rejected as to marking” 153
  • “Unmarked” 49
  • “Declined by Voter” 14
  • Total Voter Turnout 39,743
  • Names on list 89,908

So let’s say 100 to 150 people wished to express NOTA, but only 14 did so semi-explicitly.  I asked Elections Ontario to give us an explicit option on the ballot and am still waiting for a response.  Perhaps you’d like to send them an email too.  If we got together, maybe we could ask for an injunction to force the issue?

 

Response from Elections Ontario to my request for info. 

Thank you for contacting Elections Ontario.   Electors do indeed have the option of submitting a vote of non-confidence. According to the Ontario Election Act, an elector may return a ballot to the Returning Officer to decline to vote:

“Declined ballot 53. An elector who has received a ballot and returns it to the deputy returning officer declining to vote, forfeits the right to vote and the deputy returning officer shall immediately write the word “declined” upon the back of the ballot and preserve it to be returned to the returning officer and shall cause an entry to be made in the poll record that the elector declined to vote. R.S.O. 1990, c. E.6, s. 53. Under the act, the declined ballot is recorded and thus the does satisfy the option you suggest of a ‘none of the above [candidate]’ ballot casting. The declined ballots are recorded and would serve that purpose. This information is recorded under the Ballot Statement of the Poll.”

For more information on the voting process, please consult our online guide here – which includes mentions of declining a ballot:

http://www.elections.on.ca/NR/rdonlyres/E61AA9C4-CA1B-4F0B-AAB4-85EB9884950B/0/VotingInOntProvincialElections.pdf

Declined ballots are counted and documented along with the rest of the poll results. For example, the link below directs you to the 2011 General Elections Results, and as you will note, there is a section for “BALLOTS DECLINED BY VOTERS”

http://www.elections.on.ca/en-CA/Tools/2011GEPollByPoll.htm

We hope this helps.

Sincerely, Elections Ontario

51 Rolark Drive Toronto, Ontario M1R 3B1

E-mail: info@elections.on.ca

Elections Ontario http://www.elections.on.ca 1.888.668.8683 Fax: 416.326.6210