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.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. At election time the govt should be transferred to a non partisan team with maximum powers to oversee a clean electoral process and the govt previously in functions should not be allowed to take any actions or measuress of import at least a month prior to the elections , this latter rule is actually the law in great britain .

    Certainly the law should require that elections only be deemed valid where at least 60% of the registered voters participate and where the winning candidate gets at least 50% of the votes , this would involve going for the 2 round election.

  2. What we need to do is to take the politicians out of politics and replace them with boring bureaucrats who just clock in and do their job. F&*k political ideology! No more of this revolucionario bullshit, nor some opposition douchebag equally promising the pie in the sky. Just do your f(*king job public servant!

    I forget who said this, but politicians are nothing more than just “ugly actors.”

    We dont need people who give great speeches, trigger peoples emotions and pit demographic against demographic. We need boring bureaucrats who know how to run a public administration and economy. That is it.

    • “What we need to do is to take the politicians out of politics and replace them with boring bureaucrats who just clock in and do their job.”

      Loud cheers! Done right, politics should be so boring that people watch sports and telenovelas to get their ration of drama instead of the news.

    • Good idea. We also need to pay them more, to make the jobs more attractive, to get more competent bureaucrats, cut out duplication of effort and waste, and make the thing run more efficiently.

      Government has no business in private industry. The sole functions of government are to provide an environment in which free trade and capital investment are all made easy, national defense, internal order, and the mechanisms for all that. The problems with socialist governments is that they fancy themselves superior to the activities of the citizens, and take on this “redistribution of wealth” function, which is nothing more than a big fat lie. Prosperous nations are built on prosperous business which are built on free markets and investment. “The poor” in first world countries are incredibly rich by standards of third world countries. How did first world countries get to be developed nations? Free markets and investment of capital – NOT “redistribution of wealth”. Prosperity for a population is built on free individuals.

  3. “At election time the govt should be transferred to a non partisan team….”

    It would never work in the United States. Our politicians are addicted to power. You might as well tell a crackhead that you are going to take away his drugs while it is decided if he will continue to to get free drugs in the future. Letting the likes of Pelosi or Schumer or McConnell go a day without buying votes would result in Beltway Meltdown… Imagine if the people discovered that the United States could function fully without them?

    Ergo, it wouldn’t come to pass. That sort of insight would be the end of politics as politicians love. Much like term limits.

    • Indeed, our politicians addicted to power and the mediocre masses are addicted to a cult of personality. We need to break those chains.

      Because, quite obviously in Venezuela, the mediocre masses who voted for Chavez were easily manipulated and have no clue how to run a country, a business nor their own household. The franchise of CastroChavismo prays upon the poor and uneducated and is nothing more than a model of how to take power in poor countries…and it works quite well as a model of how to take power, cant run a country worth a shit.

  4. 100% Agree with the Null vote option.
    On top of that I’d require by election law strict QUALIFICATIONS in the form of RELEVANT EXPERIENCE and RELATED EDUCATION for the Presidency job and State Governors.

    With that simple requirement Venezuelans would have avoided the Chavismo catastrophe and any other incompetents Clowns and Caudillos trying to seize power just by their brute popular appeal.

    • I am a huge fan of having a prospective voter pass a simple, 4 (subjective) question test in order to vote. Because in my opinion, an intelligent citizenry (Venezuela, United States) is being held hostage by idiots.

      In your own words…

      1. What is the difference between a republic and a democracy?
      2. What is a Federal style government?
      3. Describe how wealth is earned.
      4. Does government create wealth?

      I am of the firm belief that even if the typical voter were to take the above test and were GIVEN the answers in an open book format, they STILL wouldn’t be able to pass. BECAUSE THE VAST MAJORITY OF VOTERS ARE F’ING IDIOTS. They think that wealth magically appears once money is printed.

      • “…having a prospective voter pass a simple, 4 (subjective) question test…”

        If it’s subjective how could a pass/fail be consistently awarded?!? I oppose more power for government officials, bureaucrats, functionaries, and apparatchiks.

        • There wouldn’t be a way to implement my cunning and subtle plan.

          3. It would count on people of virtue administering the test,
          2. It would be unConstitutional since there is no provision in the Constitution or Bill of Rights that says the voter must NOT be a moron, and
          1. The power brokers in Washington and Caracas count on idiots to keep them in power.

          But… I still dream…

  5. “… oops, I didn’t press the bottom hard enough”.

    That pretty much sums it up for a lot of elections, I didn’t (ahem) myself hard enough. Some jerk in the U.S. campaigned on a promise, got elected, and within two weeks exactly voted in congress for exactly the opposite of his campaign promise. Maybe he’s hoping the voters don’t notice and initiate a recall election. But he’s “in” for the term, unless recalled.

    Maybe in Venezuela voters are becoming more aware, more critical, and more demanding.

  6. When I read the title, I thought the subject was going to be about the Caracas Chronicles comments section since the fall of 2016.

    In any event, I think the idea of write in candidates is meaningless in a rigged election, like this one, and is a cop-out in a functioning democracy and in fact, undermines the democratic process of selecting candidates and voting on them and reaching a general consensus on who will govern.

    Citizens, like children, cannot have everything they want. When we choose our leaders, we have to make compromises and we have to set priorities. We cannot have a candidate for everyone. The risk is, everyone wants the perfect candidate for them, the vote is split a myriad of ways, and there is no consensus. If we can always make our own personal choice, we never win our personal choice, and like children, we grow sour on the process, we believe that it is totally corrupt (rather than fixable), and we support authoritarian candidates who promise us everything and validate our anger that elections are not just about us and our priorities.

    An infinitely open ended ballot is as meaningless as a ballot with a limited number of candidates all selected by the people who hold power.

  7. This whole article (& comments) is based on the false premise that chavista officials will look at the ballots. Why would they? Even if they saw a null vote, they’d just laugh.

    • If Maduro doesn’t get at least 10 million votes, I will be shocked.

      The funny part is, that at this very moment, SOMEONE in Chavismo should be making sure the tally sheets match the final numbers right now… but they are too dumb even for that. They can’t laugh off another one of those 104% turnout fiascoes…

    • Moreover, they will be able to show footage that millions of people went to vote, so it will be easier to argue that they got 10 million votes (that they will turn blank votes for Maduro votes is a given).

  8. They also have another problem to deal with…how to make up for the loss of 15 shipping containers worth of weevil infested clap boxes that were impounded by Colombia and declared unfit for human consumption. Also suspected money laundering involved with the shipment(suspected?? Ya think??) Looks like the regime may have a shortage of weevil-free clap boxes to reward loyal voters.

  9. Watching the campaign ads they have on the street I find it very interesting that there literally none of the communist rhetoric so normal in Chavista propaganda. Hell, Maduro’s campaign slogan is about as bland as it can be. “Together Everything is Possible” and “Let’s Go Venezuela”, there are almost no images of Chavez. I have a relative that has the misfortune to work for this government (career civil servant since the early 90s) and she mentions that unlike past years (particularly last year) the amount of internal propaganda is virtually zero. And so is the pressure to vote (although of course it does exist) hell the t-shirts they’re pushing aren’t even red. So, for whatever the reason, they really seem to have the need to make this election APPEAR legitimate. All the more reason not to vote if you ask me.

  10. Maybe, but I don’t think this applies to this election. After all it’s not about the candidates (at least, not all of it), it’s about the corrupted voting system.

  11. White vote: baloney. If you vote you are automatically validating the system. You want to leave a mark, organize around poll stations be silent, wear white color on you and DO NOT VOTE please.

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