VOTE FOR DEMOCRACY: Destroy your ballot!

Jaggi Singh (blackcat@vcn.bc.ca)
Thu, 8 May 1997 04:03:50 -0700 (PDT)


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Vancouver, SALISH TERRITORY -- May 8th, 1997 ---------------------------------------------------- VOTE FOR DEMOCRACY: Destroy your Ballot!

Are you tired of choosing which political hacks will screw you over this time? Well, so are we!

This upcoming election, some local activists are planning on destroying their ballots to protest the futility of electoral politics. BUT, believe it or not, this token act of free speech is an offence under the Kanada Elections Act, with punishments ranging from fines to jail time (see the Legal Stuff below).

"People want democracy, instead they get voting," the saying goes. It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in -- the government being big business and the power of money. The "winning" party is just the changeable mask on the ugly face of corporate power.

This election is annoyingly typical. The differences between the political parties are superficial. They will set an agenda that reinforces their preconceived ideologies, while the broader issues of how we live -- let alone how we want to live -- will never be addressed. We will hear no substantial discussion about corporate domination, mass media propaganda, private property, militarism, the genocide of indigenous peoples, patriarchy, capitalism, institutionalized poverty and the suffocating alienation of the consumer nightmare to which we are all supposed to aspire (to name but a few).

Voting in this election is not only useless, it actually undermines democracy by giving legitimacy to prevailing power structures which are inherently undemocratic. Don't be guilt-tripped into voting for the least offensive party. Vote your desires and destroy your ballot.

Voting is really an insignificant act compared to the greater goal of creating authentic democracy. We need to participate in forging real communities through everyday acts of resistance. A vote every couple of years is not subversive, it's repressive. Get over it!

For maximum impact, we will be destroying our ballots at the advance polls a week before June 2nd. So, if you're interested, swallow your pride, get enumerated and destroy your ballot. Ballots can be ripped or burned, but you might want to eat yours, use it as toilet paper or fold it into a crane. Use you imagination -- just remember to clean yourself afterwards.

In Vancouver, we will be staging some guerilla actions before election day, and another local group -- the Ministry of the Environment -- will be correcting election billboards throughout the campaign. Of course, anyone can correct a campaign sign ... all it takes is a thick black marker or some spray paint. Add "Vote for Democracy: Destroy Your Ballot!" to a sign, or change NDP to "No Difference Party." Go crazy. Billboard liberation is not a right, it's an obligation.

If you are interested in participating in this anti-election campaign, whether it be by destroying your ballot, postering, billboard liberation, street theatre or general support, let us know. E-mail blackcat@vcn.bc.ca or phone Active Resistance at (604) 251-9914 for more information. Maybe we can get some national coordination going. Any ideas, comments, or suggestions would also be appreciated. Hell, start a "Vote for Democracy: Destroy Your Ballot!" campaign in your town, city, school, prison ... whatever.

Remember: The revolution is NOW!

-- THE VANCOUVER VOTE FOR DEMOCRACY CAMPAIGN ----------------------------------------------------------

LEGAL STUFF

According to section 249(1)(b) of the Canada Elections Act, "Every person is guilty of an offence who fraudulently alters, defaces or destroys a ballot paper or the initials of the deputy returning officer signed thereon." Fraudulently means "knowingly to do" according to the Act.

Section 267(1) outlines the punishment for offences: "Subject to this Act, every person who is guilty of an offence under this Act is liable (a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both; or (b) on indictment, to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both.

There are no provisions in the Act for a protest vote that is counted as such. An unmarked ballot is considered "rejected" -- the same as an incorrectly marked ballot.

[end]

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