Let’s start with why it’s called Blank Ballot. First, I’ll give you the literal story. I love voting. I recognize that there was a time in our country when women and people of color weren’t able to vote. I recognize that voting is one of the key ways to actually be counted and to make an impact politically. I know that voting isn’t as pure as it might once have been. Lobbyists and other special interests get to our elected officials who often succumb to interests beyond those of their constituents. But, I don’t care. I love voting. I want to be counted.
However, I don’t love when I’m uneducated on a topic or about a candidate, and I’m faced with a ballot question. But, I refuse to let that stop me from trekking to my polling station. If I don’t know enough about a question but feel strongly about another ballot measure, I vote on the one, and I skip the other. If there’s only one issue on the ballot, and I’m opposed to selecting a candidate or an answer to the proposed question, I still go to cast an entirely blank ballot. Let’s say there is a special election, and there are two candidates in opposition. But, I’m opposed to both candidates. If I don’t go to the polls and cast a ballot, there’s no way to know what I’m thinking. Was I busy? Did I forget? Am I disenfranchised? If I go to the polls and cast a blank ballot, all of those questions are eliminated. I went to the polls, but I didn’t make a selection. I said, “I want to be counted as someone who doesn’t like the choices.” What if after 100% of the ballots were counted, 25% selected option one, 35% selected option two, and 40% cast a blank ballot? Did we just indicate, by being counted rather than just giving up on voting because there are no good options, that we want different choices?*
So, Blank Ballot is actually a protest concept. But, on a personal level, it explains a lot about me. And, let’s be honest; if I’m the one writing this blog, you’re going to learn a lot about me and how I see the world. My hope is that you identify with some of how I perceive things and process experiences.
I have a lot of opinions. A lot. But, if you know me casually, you probably don’t know that. I work hard to play nice, be liked, and avoid conflict. And, usually, I’m successful at it. And, it tears me up inside. I’ll have to address the “tearing up inside” as we get better acquainted. For now, you need to understand that I want to scream my opinions from rooftops. I want to get into arguments on Facebook that are well-reasoned (at least by me) and not worry about how my Facebook friend perceives me because I’ve said how I feel. But, for now, I protest more quietly. And, while I often don’t think that gets the job done, I know it’s how I’ve been inclined to share my opinion and make an impact. Casting a blank ballot is quiet, non-offensive, and anonymous. And, although I think it can be effective, for me, it’s more a symbol of my desire to be heard but not if I have to be too loud.
So, Blank Ballot begins. While I hope that casting a blank ballot does catch-on as a protest mechanism, I also hope that through this process, I catch-on to protesting** loudly through the written word. My protests will range from funny, to political, to social, to observational (probably mostly observational), and authentic. And, I know you’ll relate. If you don’t, I’ll have to learn to be disliked for being me. That just has to be better than being liked for being someone I’m not.
Welcome to Blank Ballot.
*I understand the election commission would just indicate that option two won. If 1,000 people cast ballots, election results would still dictate that the person getting 350 votes vs. 250 votes would win. But, it seems like it could stir up a story that 1,000 people went to the polls and the majority of voters (400) didn’t pick a candidate at all.
**Protesting is used loosely here. Its definition within this blog has more to do with honestly sharing my opinions and observations without letting my fear of judgment stop me. The blog generally protests living an inauthentic life. Stay tuned to hear more about authenticity and your environment’s impact on it. Turns out, you (I) might not be as inauthentic as you (I) often feel in certain spaces.
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