Sunday, November 02, 2014

Undervoting as a Choice

Undervoting as a Choice 
Are you like I and fed up with the choices at the ballot box which in reality is not a choice?  Do you feel too often that your vote is being wasted on having to choose between the lesser of two choices (highlighted it seems like in the 1994 Jim Carey – Jeff Daniels movie “Dumb and Dumber”)?  In other words, are you fed up with politics as usual?  If so, read on.

I have already warned some of you that if you are a conservative or what I and others now term “a constitutionalist,” remember this, as constitutionalists / conservatives, the Republicans are counting on your support and your vote this coming Tuesday.  This is why they will never pay any attention to you or all those TEA Party / Liberty Groups (among other limited-government, liberty-minded people) because in the final analysis almost all are going to vote (as "good responsible citizens" do) and thus vote Republican.  They would never vote for a Democrat and in most races currently across the state there are no other choices. The mainstream Republicans are counting on that from you.  Thereby, the voices of those who support “TEA Party Candidates" or other “conservative” views and candidates has been silenced.  The Republicans are counting upon the “fact” that you have no other choice.

Well, there is a choice.  It is termed the “Undervote.”  More and more attention is being paid to this phenomenon.  While I wish we in the Constitution Party had a full slate of candidates in every precinct in order to give constitutionalist / conservatives a positive vote choice, the fact is we do not; all we can offer at the moment is the next best thing and that is Undervoting.

What is “Undervoting?”  That is where a person goes to his local precinct and obtains a ballot but then does NOT vote for either candidate in certain races, or maybe only votes for one choice when two positions are open, and so on.  In some races around the country, Undervotes in last few elections have accounted for as much as one-third of the votes, thus politicians, political pundits, analysis groups, and reporters are beginning to pay more and more attention to the Undervotes.  As a matter of fact, some precinct workers are beginning to discuss adding a category to the ballot called “none of the above” to ensure that the Undervotes were intentional and not accidental.

A couple of considerations concerning Undervoting.  First it is important that you go vote and not stay home.  If you stay home, the people to whom you are trying to send a message don’t know you are any more than an apathetic potential voter.  However, IF one goes to the polls and pulls a ballot then the politicians have a better comprehension that you are willing and able to vote, you are just dissatisfied with “politics as usual.” 

Second, it is important that you cast at least one vote in one race as opposed to turning in a blank ballot.  Blank ballots are too easy to construe as non-responsive or mistaken ballots.  However, if you vote in at least one race, it is much more difficult for the precinct to discard your ballot as non-responsive.  Even voting “issues only” is a means to establish your presence as an active voter although I like voting for at least one person seeking political office. 

So, this year I encourage you to register your displeasure with the current political process of selecting candidates by going to your precinct, pulling a ballot, and voting for a limited number of candidates and any issues.

As many of you know, the Constitution Party (and the Green Party) has been fighting Senate Bill 193, passed last fall by the Ohio Legislature, primarily along Party lines.  It is currently under review by the Federal Courts.  If allowed to stand, it will effectively eliminate “minor” parties from gaining ballot access, thus it will be highly unlikely there will be any “third” party candidates on the ballot in the future.  As such, until the Ohio Constitution and Voting Laws are changed to allow fair, equal, and reasonable ballot access to all Parties and independents (a ballot initiative the Constitution Party is currently developing – hopefully for the 2016 elections), your only means of protesting politics-as-usual may well be by Undervoting.  

Don Shrader, Chairman
Constitution Party of Ohio
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Ben Franklin

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