24 August 2011

A monstrous abuse continues #nlpoli

While there will be a general election in Newfoundland and Labrador this fall, there isn’t one at the moment.

And yet, the province’s chief electoral office is proudly encouraging people to cast a special ballot if they need to do so. 

People who don’t live in the province might find this very odd but such is the reality  in the undemocratic former republic of Dannystan.  Changes to the province’s electoral laws made before the 2007 general election created a situation in which people can vote in an election that doesn’t exist. You can be your own electoral grand-pa, as it were.

Now some of us have been criticising this monstrous abuse of democracy since it began. But in the current election people can get a very good sense of how the special ballot provisions of the Williams Election Act rob voters of their right to choice.

Under the Act, a person can request a special ballot and vote for the candidate or party of ones choice any time up to four weeks before a writ is issued for an election.

Sounds good so far.

One small problem.

What is a candidate?

Well, under the Act, a candidate is a person nominated to be a candidate under the rules laid out in the Act. One of those rules is that the person must be nominated by:

by filing the nomination paper with the returning officer between the date of the proclamation commencing the election and the close of nominations.

Date of the proclamation… that’s what people mean by dropping the writ.

And that won’t happen for some three or four weeks yet, just as the special ballot section of the legislation already acknowledges.

So without a writ, there can be no nominations and without nominations  there can’t be any candidates.

But one can vote for a political party.


That might work.

Except for people like John Baird. He’s the fellow who had planned to run for the Liberals in the upcoming election but who decided to run as an independent candidate instead. 

“Independent” is not a political party.

Nor is “non-aligned” which is the word that will appear on the ballot next to Baird’s name at some point in the future.

For now, any people who needed a special ballot in Terra Nova district and wanted to vote for John Baird won’t have that opportunity.

If the election turns out to be close, as it sometimes is, those few ballots John Baird won’t get - and all the affiliated, party-approved candidates  can get - could make all the difference in the world.

Special balloting makes a mockery of democracy.

- srbp -