I Want to Vote White

A white vote, not to be confused with the adeco “white”, would allow Venezuelans to bring the protests to the ballot box. It’s proactive and sends a clear message.

Photo: Wheat & Tares

“I’m definitely voting. You should too.”

“I’m not voting. Period.”

I must have heard both phrases quite a few times now, never from my own mouth. And I don’t think either represents the right attitude.

I’ve voted a dozen times since I turned 18 in 2004, but only two or three times for someone instead of against someone. You could say I’m one of those eternal oppositionists: no political leader has been able to keep the romance alive after sweeping me off my feet. I fall out of love (and even respect) quite easily, especially when I take a close and critical look at candidates.

If I had the option, I would vote white, a white that has nothing to do with Henry Ramos Allup’s age-old (and spirit-old) Acción Democrática.

A white vote, also known as a blank vote or a protest vote, is the one that’s cast to demonstrate the voter’s dissatisfaction with the choice of candidates. Though some countries only have a null vote (that includes from protest votes to “oops, I didn’t press the bottom hard enough”), others have a valid blank vote that stands for “none of the above.”

For example, the Colombian two-round system has a white vote that can affect the electoral results. If, in the first round, the white option gets the majority, the elections must be annulled and new candidates must be presented. Though it has never happened, the option is available.

In Venezuela we only have a null vote that tends to be used to calculate voters’ “mistakes” and it’s not considered a protest. Moreover, we, Venezuelans, tend to “punish” a candidate by voting for another.

I think we’re in dire need of a “protest vote” option; I’d love to tell the candidates that I think they all suck, not only on Facebook and Twitter, but where it hurts the most: in the ballot box.

Though I don’t think this will happen any time soon, the white vote option should be discussed and considered. Venezuelans should be able to bring the protest to the ballot boxes, especially when the candidates are showing no respect whatsoever for the real needs of the voters.