The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

My Photo
Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Sunday, February 28, 2016

vote spoiling campaign in ireland

Coffee with Yvonne.
"Listen," she said, "what I say next, I don't want appearing on your blog."
"You're not that interesting," I replied as per my standard response to people concerned about making undesired special guest appearances on this website. "Nothing you say is ever worth quoting on The Heelers Diaries."
"Tell me you won't put it on your blog," she insisted.
A vague and distant Look came over my handsome preraphaelite features, and I nodded... vaguely and distantly.
It was a vague and distant Look the old editor of the now defunct Leinster Leader newspaper would have recognised from when I worked for him.
With a bit of wishful thinking it might connote agreement.
It meant no such thing.
"Promise me," she said.
"If I say I won't do it, I won't do it," quoth me cautiously.
This seemed to satisfy her.
"You know I think the electoral process is flawed," she began. "Well me and my brother were joking about launching a vote spoiling campaign, You know as a sort of protest. I'd get my five Facebook friends and his four Facebook friends to spoil their votes deliberately in exactly the same way, and soon everybody would be doing it. We just need a symbol that we could put on our ballots. We were thinking we might draw little bums opposite all the candidates faces on the ballot paper. It could be the beginning of a mass protest movement."
Ho hum bold readers.
The sort of dross people think I'm going to put on this website.
She paused with an expectant expression on her face, either seeking some sign of approval from me or waiting for me to suggest suitable vote spoiling icons.
I shook my handsome head.
"I have bad news for you," I said seriously. "Our venerable democracy is well up to your little games. The Irish Times had an article this week about what constitutes an acceptable vote in Ireland. It highlighted one case during the Presidential election where a voter put X's over the faces of all the candidates except Michael D Higgins. In black marker the voter had scrawled: 'I'm not voting for any of these jokers, I'm voting for the Batman." He'd then drawn a Batman mask over Michael D Higgins face. And the returning officer deemed that this was a genuine vote and included it in the tallies because the voter had clearly indicated a preference. Imagine it. No wonder bloody Higgins won the election. If you and your brother think drawing bums or penises or breasts or whatevers opposite candidates on ballot papers in Ireland will actually spoil your votes, you may be in for a rude awakening. Irish returning officers are made of sterner stuff. They're liable to interpret your votes depending on their own personal preferences regarding bums, penises and breasts and whatevers, and to conclude based on their own predilections that you yourself have clearly indicated a preference. I'm a breast man myself. But never mind that. Your mass protest movement is clearly in trouble before it gets off the ground."


Post a Comment

<< Home