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Source: (consider it) Thread: Not voting as abdicating citizenly responsibility
Ian Climacus

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# 944

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On the US aftermath thread I posted:
quote:
Given I guess you can't spoil your ballot over there, and voting is not compulsory, not sure I'd've turn up. Not sure if that is worse...
Gee D replied with:
quote:
I think it does matter. Not voting is abdicating your responsibility as a citizen. The US, and other places with non-compulsory voting would do well to look at how the ancient Athenians treated citizens who did not attend to their civic duties, then implement those procedures with some modern updating.
So as not to derail that thread...

I am very politically engaged and aware. I have never spoilt a vote here and in all honesty probaly never intend to because I can find at least 1 candidate in the house ballot and table-cloth-sized senate ballot I can in good conscious vote for.

But what if each candidate was flawed [in my mind]? Do you pick the least worst and be done with it?

And, Gee D, why do you see voting as so intrinsic to being a citizen? Is it as we take on some sort of contract with the government where they supply services and we pay taxes, obey the laws, etc. And voting is one of those things we are called to do?

Is voting for a candidate with no hope in hell a waste? Hard to think of it here due to preferences, but perhaps I may vote for 12 individuals in the Senate from the parties "Make Lifesaving Flags Red and Green", "Bring Back Full-Size Bubble-o-Bills" and "Drive on the Left" beause I hate the majors and minors, knowing, believing my vote will be exhausted.


Now off to Google non-voting Athenians...

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:
But what if each candidate was flawed [in my mind]? Do you pick the least worst and be done with it?

I've done so all my voting life. What candidate isn't flawed? What candidate don't I disagree with about this issue or that? Picking the least worst is all there is. It's what voting is.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Golden Key
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Ditto what MT said. Plus the American adage that if you don't vote, you don't have any right to complain. Often, people here vote for a not-so-good candidate of their own party, to help their party get/keep control.

I just posted this on the "US Election Aftermath" thread:

quote:
FWIW: As I've said many times before, compulsory voting would never work here in the US. We don't like being told what to do. Good chance that many more people would just skip it altogether, more than already do. Others might wreck their ballots, or write in fictional characters. (Bugs Bunny for president?) And I can envision some people being so upset that they hire someone to go vote for them, which would create the voter fraud that some conservatives are so worried about. In vote-by-mail states, that could be as easy as filling out a stack of ballots while watching TV. (NOT saying that anyone is already doing any of that.)


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--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
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orfeo

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I understand there might be a couple of rare jurisdictions where "none of the above" is a voting option.

Otherwise, there's a position and it's going to be filled, because someone has to carry out the function assigned to that position.

It's not usually a situation where you can look at the choices and say "hmm, actually I don't want any of those" and walk away. It's not like all the personal decisions you make where simply doing without is a viable choice.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Ian Climacus

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Picking the least worst is all there is.

So you can't spoil, or wouldn't consider spoiling, your vote?
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Ian Climacus

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
It's not usually a situation where you can look at the choices and say "hmm, actually I don't want any of those" and walk away. It's not like all the personal decisions you make where simply doing without is a viable choice.

That's a good point. Not one I really thought about, but it makes sense. Sometimes I just feel depressed about any choice and opting out, though I have not done so, seems attractive.
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Picking the least worst is all there is.

So you can't spoil, or wouldn't consider spoiling, your vote?
What good would that do? In a situation where either person A or person B is going to win, I'm going to vote for the one who will do the most good and least damage overall. To abdicate my vote increases, or risks increasing, the possibility of the most worst winning. If there is a difference in worstness, then I definitely don't want to do that.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Golden Key
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Ian--

Are you saying it's acceptable behavior there to purposely ruin a ballot?

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
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lilBuddha
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A massive problem is that many people's political engagement begins and ends in the voting booth. And this is simply not sufficient.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Ian Climacus

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Yes GK. Perhaps not well-liked as an action, but as long as you get your name ticked off the list to indicate you intend to vote you are fine to do whatever you want to the ballot papers in your booth. Draw a penis, write "You are all idiots!", etc.

MT: as always, you make sense.

But let me give 2 examples.

I live, and have lived, in safe electorates. My vote would mean nothing. The incumbent party is here to stay. Voting for anyone else is wasted in effect. I realise if everyone thought like this it would be definitely wasted, and perhaps there could be an upswing in other votes, but it is unlikely. Sometimes I wonder why I bother.

This year the left candidate pulled out due to some remarks made and dodgy friendships. One Nation are racists. The Independent is a One-Nation wannabe. The Christian Party offends my beliefs. That leaves me with the Liberals [who are actually conservatives and who I disagree with]. I don't trust them. Do I need to label them #1? Or do I fold up and place a blank ballot in the box.

I ended up putting a 1 next to the Liberal candidate[*], for what it's worth. But I did wonder about spoiling it.

[*] who was health and sports minister and seemed competent, and has recently resigned due to what is seen as dodgy expense claiming.

[ 26. January 2017, 02:44: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

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Golden Key
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Some Americans think we should have a "none of the above" option. That might send a needed message, but it wouldn't help with getting the best candidate in *that* election get elected.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Gee D
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I don't see it as a part of any contract/quasi-contract. It is not something I can opt out of. It is simply an obligation of being a citizen, and that in turn is something I can't opt out of.

Both the Federal and State electorates in which I live are strongholds for the conservative party. In the last Federal election the conservative candidate received over 3 times the vote of the Labor candidate, the next most popular, with the Greens not so far behind (the Green vote is swollen here as it represents an anti-conservative position). Even in 1961, following the disastrous Menzie's credit squeeze, the Labor candidate received less than a third of the vote. The only times that the conservative candidate looked in any difficulty was during the 1950s, when an independent candidate received about 40% (he was pretty conservative and was appointed a NSW Supreme Court judge). There is a similar picture in the State electorate. Never has the conservative party been forced to preferences.

You may think that our votes are useless. I'd prefer to use the term unnecessary. And they do count for the Senate and the State upper house. By voting Labor in the lower houses, we show our preference and also show support for party as a whole.

Otherwise, what Orfeo has said.

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Ian--

Are you saying it's acceptable behavior there to purposely ruin a ballot?

I have Deputy Returning Officer'd in a few elections and during the count we always preferred it when a voter clearly spoiled their ballot as opposed to those who didn't seem to be able to mark them properly (it happens). I would show the ballot to the parties' scrutineers as I called it, and if it were spoiled, they knew that it was a conscientious refusal to vote for any of the candidates.

Ontario provides that a voter can reject a ballot, so that means we are all certain as to their intent.

To my mind, these are entirely fine ways to respond to the choices provided. Not voting is an abdication of responsibility and I have yet to hear it satisfactorily defended.

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mousethief

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The problem I've heard discussed is that even if you don't care for either of the two presidential candidates, or senatorial candidates, there are plenty of other elections and plebescites on the ballot that need your attention. So spoiling your ballot is not only abdicating responsibility for selecting the president or prime minister or whatsit, but also for deciding whether or not to build a new high school, or decide who should be port commissioner, etc.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
The problem I've heard discussed is that even if you don't care for either of the two presidential candidates, or senatorial candidates, there are plenty of other elections and plebescites on the ballot that need your attention. So spoiling your ballot is not only abdicating responsibility for selecting the president or prime minister or whatsit, but also for deciding whether or not to build a new high school, or decide who should be port commissioner, etc.

Just to clarify, in the US do you get all of these different elections on the same bit of paper?

I've had that impression occasionally, but I've never been sure. Here, if there are multiple things you need to vote for, each one gets a separate piece of paper.

Here, though, it's unlikely to be more than a couple of pieces of paper. We simply don't vote for a plethora of positions that are elected in the US.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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mousethief

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Yes it's all one bit of paper. Last election I think we had to make a decision on people or plebescites* close to 20 times on one ballot, maybe more.

___
*in this precinct. Of course it varies from area to area, based on whether or not you're in the area of a port authority, or have a local library bond up for renewal, etc.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Ian Climacus

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MT: interesting; thanks. I had assumed all the positions were on separate ballots.

quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
And they do count for the Senate and the State upper house.

Oh, indeed. I am one of those saddos who numbers every box every time. 151 [I think it was this year...], 150, 149, 148 ... 3, 2, 1. I find it easier to start at the bottom and work up. I would never spoil a senate paper; it was more the lower house one I was thinking of. Wasn't clear on that.

quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
You may think that our votes are useless. I'd prefer to use the term unnecessary. ... By voting Labor in the lower houses, we show our preference and also show support for party as a whole.

That is a good point. And does mean something. Thanks.

[edit; MT reply]

[ 26. January 2017, 04:01: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

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mousethief

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Interesting how very differently they do things in different places!

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Golden Key
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orfeo--

We do vote for many things on the same piece of paper. We often have several pages, printed front and back, which we mark with felt pens.

In last November's election, we had an unusually large number of items, between our local SF ballot and the California ballot. So there were many, many pages, which took a long time to fill out. The voter's pamphlet for each was hundreds of pages long.

Take a look:

SF voter's guide for 11/8/16 election

California voter's guide for 11/8/16 election

There are accessible options for both.

I noticed, on the SF site, that the online guide may not be quite the same as the printed one. But if will give you an idea.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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orfeo

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God. Now I understand why people don't vote. You overload them.

I mean, it would just never occur to us to tell people to vote on not just representatives in the legislature or council, but the director of education, the director of the local transport system, "supervisors" (whatever the hell they are)... the Community College Board?

I knew you voted for judges, and we won't go into all my concerns about that. But all these administrative positions... we leave it to the politicians to sort out appointments of the heads of agencies, and if they're controversial or bad appointments they'll hear about it and the political pressure will lead to a change. The top 3 people in my own agency are appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the government.

And then at the same time you've got a bucketload of propositions. Seriously? You need a referendum on plastic bags? What are you actually paying your politicians to do?

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
What are you actually paying your politicians to do?

Shift tax dollars to corporations that fund their reelection campaigns.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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mousethief

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You think maybe I jest.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Ian Climacus

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Wow. As MT wrote, interesting how differently things are done. All those propositions I too would expect government to enact or elect people to. SF gets to elect the BART Director? My mind is spinning. I wouldn't know where to start there.

And so, on Prop 60: do adult film performers now have to use condoms during filming of sexual intercourse? Enquiring minds...

[ 26. January 2017, 04:28: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

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Ian Climacus

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
You think maybe I jest.

No. We apparently pay ours to go to the polo and New Year's Eve parties at the PM's place if their expense claims are any guide. Or buy an investment property on the Gold Coast.

[edit: added my local member's "transgression"]

[ 26. January 2017, 04:31: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:
And so, on Prop 60: do adult film performers now have to use condoms during filming of sexual intercourse? Enquiring minds...

I believe that proposition, ahem, failed to get up.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:

Oh, indeed. I am one of those saddos who numbers every box every time. 151 [I think it was this year...], 150, 149, 148 ... 3, 2, 1. I find it easier to start at the bottom and work up. I would never spoil a senate paper; it was more the lower house one I was thinking of. Wasn't clear on that.

We are lazy and take the opportunity to vote above the line. However, we did not do so in choosing delegates to the republic convention. The simple vote would have put Malcolm Turnbull first, something we refuse to do. So, stating at the number 2 on the pro-republic list, we laboriously numbered each and every square, finishing with Turnbull.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Golden Key
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orfeo--

San Francisco has a Board of Supervisors, rather than a city council. I'll try to address the rest of your post in the next few days.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Golden Key
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lilBuddha--

quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
A massive problem is that many people's political engagement begins and ends in the voting booth. And this is simply not sufficient.

If I may ask, what do you think they should be doing?

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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neandergirl

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Ian--

Are you saying it's acceptable behavior there to purposely ruin a ballot?

Seems to me to be an acceptable way to indicate that you care (as opposed to those who can't be bothered to vote), know your vote could make a difference, and your dissatisfaction with the candidates on offer, the process, or both. It is, afaia, acceptable in Canada, although there is likely variation across provinces.

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Enoch
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As I've said on threads before, if you have the vote and don't bother to exercise it, IMHO you forfeit the right to criticise the government or express any political opinion for the whole duration of the period from that election to the next one.

As regards what other people read into your failure to vote, they are entitled to assume you don't care one way or the other. They are also entitled to ignore any opinion you might express, and to view it with contempt.

The number of exceptions to this is very small.

As Mousethief has said, one is often voting for the candidate or party one is least dissatisfied with. Furthermore, I live in a political system where your considered opinion may lead you to vote for a candidate or party who is not really the one you most prefer. This can sometimes be quite a difficult call.

If you are so dissatisfied with all the candidates that you really aren't prepared to vote for any of them, then I don't see why anyone should regard it as illegitimate deliberately to spoil your ballot paper.

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Anselmina
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As the number of spoiled ballots are recorded as such when returns are announced, I think it's legitimate to spoil a ballot, if there's no-one viable to vote for. In that way, the would-be voter has indicated that they have done their duty in bothering to turn up at the polling station, having their name ticked off the registration list, found what's on offer below par, and recorded their protest in the only way left open to them, at that point of the democratic process.

It'll never happen, but sometimes - here in Ulster - I dream of a returns officer making a statement something like: Aggie McBlah, Sinn Fein, 200; Hughie O'Guff, DUP, 200; Spoiled ballots numbered 24,395.

It would, at least, represent something of the real mind of many of us, and give a realistic message about how pissed off some of us get at voting time.

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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Errrr...why assume that the person spoiled the ballot because they *cared*? It could just as easily be the other way around, and that would be the first thing *I'd* think of.

I'm not of your cultures/countries. But, to me, that's the kind of thing kids do when they have to fill something out, and don't want to--even up into college. And someone from Australia mentioned you could draw anatomy on the ballot. If that wasn't just hyperbole, that's rude to the poll workers, and doesn't seem at all like the conscientious statement that people have been talking about.

Forgive me, but I don't get it. ISTM that if you don't want to vote on a particular item/office, just skip that one, and do the rest. I do that, sometimes, when I can't make up my mind.

How big is the penalty for not doing mandatory voting?

Thx.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
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Golden Key
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And here, in the US, TTBOMK "spoiled" ballots are simply ruined ballots. Someone marked too many choices for one item, spilled grape juice over their mail-in ballot, etc. If you do the first at the polls, you can ask for a new ballot, and start over. (Here, the ballot pages have related numbers on them, so you can check (if necessary) that it was counted. If you ruin one page, I *think* you have to start over with an entirely new set, so that the numbers go together. When you turn in the ballot, you keep the paper stubs with the numbers.)

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Errrr...why assume that the person spoiled the ballot because they *cared*? It could just as easily be the other way around, and that would be the first thing *I'd* think of.


Careful about conflating different countries' voting systems. I know nothing about mandatory voting. Voting is voluntary in the UK. Which is why, in my opinion, if you don't vote for whatever the issue is, you don't get to have an opinion on that issue.

Also, in our part of the UK we only vote for council members and politicians, no other forms of office-holder (that I'm aware of!).

If a significant proportion of the electorate spoilt their votes in protest, as a result of a public campaign - and by that I mean with a simple statement on the form to say why they've spoilt the form, even the most tremendously thick administration would get the message. Quite possibly there might even be someone with a brain big enough to work it out, simply on the arithmetic alone. Though, as we're talking about Ulster, maybe not!

The alternative - if you genuinelly can't in all conscience choose a candidate - is to stay sitting on your lazy arse and be correctly construed as not giving a shit about who gets in, or about the paucity of electoral candidates.

And just to re-iterate, that EVERYONE who turns up - whatever they do with their voting slip - gets their name ticked off the registration list; thus proving that potentially they wanted to do their civic duty. Even those who turn up and accidentally spoil their votes, as some undoubtedly do, or who draw infantile obscenities, which of course is a daft thing to do, at least have CARED ENOUGH at some level, to get their backsides into a polling booth in the first place. Treating your voting slip carelessly or deliberately stupidly is still a statement of that voter's presence, and maybe still reflective of protest.

It's your vote, after all, to do with as you wish, since you've registered for it. But if you can't even do that much, well, no vote, no say.

And arguably it still elevates them above the lazy gits who couldn't care less and made no effort to indicate any interest by even turning up in the first place.

As yet, I've never spoilt a ballot paper myself, tending to go for the least worst option, if really pressed. But I don't think the 'oh, there's no-one to vote for so I didn't bother' mob should be excused for their apathy. At least prove you were willing to make the effort by doing that small thing of turning up.

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Golden Key
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Anselmina--

Actually, I meant that as a general post, not just to you. Several people had said similar things about spoiling ballots, and I found it very mind-boggling.

Sorry if I should've made it clearer. If I'm addressing a particular person, I usually put their name at the top. FWIW.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Zappa
Ship's Wake
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Back when I first voted, in my tiny country, it was simple. There were two-and-a-bit parties, it was first past the post, and I felt empowered. With due reverence in my first ever vote I voted National, because I knew nasty Labour was commy and commies were Bad. By the next election I voted Labour, because I knew National were fascists and fascits were Bad. There was only one house.

Sure as hell didn't have to worry about librarians and judges and janitor's assistats in the local brothel. They weren't included. Maybe local body politics sorted that.

Then I went to Oz. They had something called compulsory voting, which annoyed me, but that aside, they had both state and federal elections, upper and lower houses in both (local body elections too), and choices of voting in different ways (block or tick every square) ... oh, and preferential rather than first past the post. And different methodologies for the different chambers.

It all becme so complicated. Like Ian I voted the whole 150+ in the upper house thingy, then someone very political told me that wasn't helpful and I needed to follow some sort of algorhythmic sequence that made the Billings Method look attractive, and anyway no matter who I voted for the reality was that the whole fucked up thing was becoming presidential and even a good local member had to follow the Party Line.

By which time even tiny NZ had gone to a weird preferential two system MMP ststem that made Israel and Italy look positively bland and pre-school in their simplicity.

So do I vote these days? I'm not going to tell you. But I can say I'm past giving a fuck because I think they're all congenital liars.

But I would have voted in the US.

[ 26. January 2017, 16:41: Message edited by: Zappa ]

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
lilBuddha--

quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
A massive problem is that many people's political engagement begins and ends in the voting booth. And this is simply not sufficient.

If I may ask, what do you think they should be doing?
At the very least, taking some time to study the issues from as objective a point as possible.
Most people get their info from the telly and, ridiculous and STUPID to the extreme, Facebook.
They should also be informed about the voting records of their legislators.
That is the minimum.
I do believe in political activism. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable have the least resources for this, but the vast majority have more time than we think/admit.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

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Kwesi
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# 10274

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Compulsory voting has mostly been associated with authoritarian regimes, as in the former communist states of Eastern Europe. IMO the freedom not to vote is an important democratic right. Liberal Democracies which have introduced compulsory voting have imposed very light sanctions and probably wished they hadn't adopted the policy in the first place.

Abstention can send important messages politicians. In the recent elections in Ghana, for example, greater abstention in areas supportive of the government party who felt their traditional loyalty had been taken for granted contributed to its defeat. As one of the chiefs remarked: "the Volta Region is like a wife whose husband only returns when he's hungry." ISTM many naturally Democrat supporters in the USA felt the same way in 2016. "Those who have ears to hear: Let them hear."

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:

So do I vote these days? I'm not going to tell you. But I can say I'm past giving a fuck because I think they're all congenital liars.

They are liars because we allow it. Because we occasionally get angry and throw things out of the pram, but for the most part are content to whinge and be rolled along.
Bread and circuses have been replaced by the take-away and the internet, but we are still mollified the same.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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leo
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# 1458

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I have voted in every election since coming of age except 2
The first was when the polling station opened late and I had a train to catch to work and would no be back min time for it closing

More importantly, I refused to vote for the first police commissioner because I disagree with such a post usurping the role of the local authority – since there were other exertions at the same time, I had to make a fuss to ensure I wasn’t counted as a spoiled (because empty) ballot rather than a no show.

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Enoch
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# 14322

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quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:
... But I can say I'm past giving a fuck because I think they're all congenital liars. ...

Having worked in close proximity with politicians for part of my working life, that is easy to say, but isn't actually true.

There are failings that tend to go with being a politician, just as there are with lawyers, doctors, and - dare I say it - clergy. One weakness that goes with the job is a tendency to see everything through 'how it will play'. But not all politicians are equally liars. They vary just as everyone else does.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Ian Climacus

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
And someone from Australia mentioned you could draw anatomy on the ballot. If that wasn't just hyperbole, that's rude to the poll workers,

Poll workers aren't bothered...they just mark it spoilt and move on. Maybe they laugh; maybe they sigh at having seen it all before. They know it's directed at the politicians, not them.
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Ian Climacus

Liturgical Slattern
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I think we still have a problem here in Oz of people voting to familial tradition. "My parents and great-grand-parents voted for the Spaghetti Party and told me the Linguini Party was awful so I will vote for Spaghetti." To my mind, people in the bush are very prone to this having a party of the bush which has aligned themselves to the conservatives and screwed the bush at times. But it's their party.

Zappa wrote:
quote:
So do I vote these days? I'm not going to tell you. But I can say I'm past giving a fuck...
This is probably what started my thoughts on this. Sometimes you tire of hearing the endless lies, the endless weasel words that mean nothing, the lack of human compassion... and think why bother?

lilBuddha:
quote:
I do believe in political activism. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable have the least resources for this, but the vast majority have more time than we think/admit.
What forms do you see this taking? Mine basically stops at writing emails to my local member, or particular minister if the government is planning something offensive to me [e.g. health minister raising cost of doctor's visits; locking up asylum seekers on Pacific Islands...]. If there were a march nearby I'd hope I'd go, but none as yet.

[ 26. January 2017, 17:54: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

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M.
Ship's Spare Part
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There was a case in the 2015 UKelection where someone drew a penis next to one of the candidates' names. Because it was within the box, it was counted as a valid vote for him. I can't link from my iPad, but found the report easily enough on the BBC website.

M.

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Arethosemyfeet
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I think the idea of a "re-open nominations" box on the ballot, as used by NUS and student unions in the UK, has merit. It would mean that safe seats could still reasonably reject a candidate foisted on them by central office without having to split the vote between opposition parties which they might not like the policies of anyway. In practice, even in student union election it rarely takes effect, but it does serve as a useful corrective when people are un- or barely opposed in an election.
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Gee D
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# 13815

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quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:

Then I went to Oz. They had something called compulsory voting, which annoyed me, but that aside, they had both state and federal elections, upper and lower houses in both (local body elections too), and choices of voting in different ways (block or tick every square) ... oh, and preferential rather than first past the post. And different methodologies for the different chambers.

Queensland has been unicameral since 1922 (from memory). That led to a gerrymander which entrenched Labor in power for 40 or more years, then Bjelke-Petersen for his reign of glory.

It's just something you accept - you follow the road rules (basically), you pay your taxes, you show up and vote. The number of informal votes is never very high, but we'll never know the number of formal votes which have had messages added.

A couple of years ago, I was at a talk by one of the electoral commissioners. His argument was that in the early 1880s South Australia had introduced 4 elements essential for a democratic government: universal adult male suffrage (corrected within a very few years to include women); Saturday voting, ie a day when few people worked; a secret ballot; and compulsory voting. The other colonies followed pretty quickly. I agree with him.

As a total aside, I wonder how many of those who marched against Trump voted. We'll never know.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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orfeo--

I said I'd come back and answer this, so...

quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
God. Now I understand why people don't vote. You overload them.

I mean, it would just never occur to us to tell people to vote on not just representatives in the legislature or council, but the director of education, the director of the local transport system, "supervisors" (whatever the hell they are)... the Community College Board?

Well, many people have Definite Opinions about how the school district is run; how well public transit works for their commute; who represents them on the Board of Supervisors (like a City Council); and how SF City College (our community college) is run. (SFCC has had major problems, the last few years, with keeping its accreditation.)

quote:
I knew you voted for judges, and we won't go into all my concerns about that. But all these administrative positions... we leave it to the politicians to sort out appointments of the heads of agencies, and if they're controversial or bad appointments they'll hear about it and the political pressure will lead to a change.
How quickly does that change happen?

Look, we generally don't trust the gov't, any level of it. (Except when we do.) If any one thing is truly unAmerican, it's trusting the gov't. That's why all the checks and balances.

quote:
The top 3 people in my own agency are appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the government.
The GG is the Crown's representative, right? How do Australians feel when the gov't advises something they agree with, and the GG disagrees?

This is also part of why some people don't trust the UN, one world gov't, etc. We don't like to be told what to do, especially by foreigners; and we want to be Americans, thank you very much.

quote:
And then at the same time you've got a bucketload of propositions. Seriously? You need a referendum on plastic bags? What are you actually paying your politicians to do?
Gotta keep our environmentalist cred. Plastic grocery bags waste resources, usually aren't recycled, and sometimes wind up in the ocean, where creatures can get entangled.

SF banned them several years ago. You either bring your own reusable bag, or pay at least 10 cents for a paper one. I almost always go with a reusable bag. I don't have a car; so I drag nested reusable bags with me on public transportation or walking, when I know I'll likely buy something.

I've got mixed feelings about it. Saving the environment is important. But the bags could be reused. And 10 cents a bag probably makes a difference to a lot of people, and they may not be able to get enough money together at once to buy reusable bags.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Gee D
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# 13815

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
The GG is the Crown's representative, right? How do Australians feel when the gov't advises something they agree with, and the GG disagrees?

The Governor-General (and the State Governors) have the same powers as the monarch - to give advice to the elected government and to be advised by that government. The convention has arisen over the centuries and is now beyond any real doubt that if the government gives advice, the monarch and any viceroy is bound to follow that advice. In other words, if the GG were to disagree, the GG could discuss the question with the government and suggest alternatives. Once the government gives advice then the GG must accept that advice.

A couple of practical examples. Harold Macmillan became ill in 1963, and understood that his condition was inoperable. He gathered opinions from within the Conservative Party as to who amongst a group of potential successors would have the most support as the new Prime Minister. He then spoke to the Queen and told her the outcome of his enquiries. In doing so, he made it clear that he was not giving HM advice, considering that even in 1963 it was the Crown's prerogative to choose the next Prime Minister; had he advised HM, she would have been bound to accept that advice. (My authority for all this is in Vol 6 of Macmillan's autobiography.)

In 1975, the Whitlam Government in Aust did not have a majority in the Senate. It was unable to get the Senate to approve Supply, that is, the bill to give the government authority to raise and spend money. An analogy is what happened to Obama 4 or 5 years ago trying to get Senate approval to the US equivalent of Supply. Time was running out and within a matter of days the government would not be able to continue. The GG called Whitlam and without discussion told him that he was dismissed. Whitlam then had no power to give advice which the GG was bound to follow.

A bit long-winded perhaps, but this should give you an idea of how the system operates. It's all discussed at learned length by Dr H V Evatt in his book The King and His Dominion Governors, still the only full length discussion of its topic. As a further matter, the GG and State Governors are viceroys rather than representatives. There is a difference.

[ 02. February 2017, 09:07: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
orfeo--

quote:
And then at the same time you've got a bucketload of propositions. Seriously? You need a referendum on plastic bags? What are you actually paying your politicians to do?
Gotta keep our environmentalist cred. Plastic grocery bags waste resources, usually aren't recycled, and sometimes wind up in the ocean, where creatures can get entangled.

SF banned them several years ago. You either bring your own reusable bag, or pay at least 10 cents for a paper one. I almost always go with a reusable bag. I don't have a car; so I drag nested reusable bags with me on public transportation or walking, when I know I'll likely buy something.

I've got mixed feelings about it. Saving the environment is important. But the bags could be reused. And 10 cents a bag probably makes a difference to a lot of people, and they may not be able to get enough money together at once to buy reusable bags.

You misunderstand my concern. I highlighted the word "referendum", not the phrase "plastic bags". We've had a similar system in the Australian Capital Territory since 2011.

I would have thought it was fairly obvious in context that I was commenting on the fact the question was thought to require a separate public vote. Putting plastic bag usage on the same level as a constitutional change.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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orfeo

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Also, in terms of your reactions to appointments: first of all, what GeeD said about how the system here actually works.

But I would note that you've currently got Trump filling a whole bunch of government positions without you having a say. Some of them the Senate is getting to have a say, which is highly unlikely to mean anything in practice as a Republican Senate waves through the nominees of a Republican President.

But how are you going to feel when all those unelected Secretaries do things you don't agree with?

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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