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Monday, September 15, 2008

what if no one voted on october 14?

In conversations over the past couple weeks, I've encountered a shocking amount of people who have admitted that they haven't decided whether or not they will actually vote in the October 2008 federal election. With dropping voter turnout levels becoming the norm (I'm actually surprised there aren't more mainstream media stories about this yet), an interesting question comes to mind...


What would happen if no one showed up to vote on October 14, 2008?

With Parliament dissolved and no candidate having received a mandate to join the Commons, would Governor General Michaëlle Jean take emergency powers and rule from Rideau Hall? What of the Senate? Who would General Walter Natynczyk report to? Would Stephen Harper barricade the doors of 24 Sussex Drive or would he become Canada's Leviathan? Would the ten Premiers appoint an interim-Prime Minister? Would Alberta annex Saskatchewan? The North West Territories? Would Denmark take this as a chance to invade Hans Island? Would there be anarchy in the streets? Would Canadians even notice?

In all seriousness, as unlikely a situation as it may be, what would a contingency plan for this look like?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could it possibly be more dysfunctional than the last parliament?

Ian said...

I could see this government giving itself a mandate with 1 voter turnout per riding across the country.

I think another interesting scenario might be if every (or even a number of) riding(s) ended in a tie since only the candidates ended up voting (for themselves).

Geekwad said...

I think we would be better served by a random lottery, anyway. No joke!

Jeff J. said...

Reminds me of that episode of the Simpsons where Bart runs for class president and everyone supports him, and then Martin wins with 2 votes, because no one voted, not even Bart for himself.

And to me, not voting is in fact voting, therefore the majority would prevail and there would have to be another election, and we would revert back to a primitive form of direct democracy at which point Liberals and other socialists would realize that if people have to look after themselves, then how can they be forced to do what is best for them, ie. be told what to do by a Left-wing gov't?

Anonymous said...

One might as well ponder the question, if unicorns popped up in my underwear, what would I have for dinner? Makes about as much sense and provides better imagery.

The only way that no votes will be cast in a riding is if the riding was nuked on election day. And even then you'd probably get some absentee ballots.

Gauntlet said...

Forget the Danes. America would come for us, for sure. 'Cause they spread democracy like peanut butter across the world.

Or, we might just hold a whole bunch of by-elections.

Mike said...

Can I vote for Anarchy in the Streets?

k in toronto said...

Are any of the parties giving Canadians a reason to vote? I live in a strong Liberal riding, so my Conseravtive vote isn't going to make a difference. I might as well vote for the Green Party.

Anonymous said...

JeffJ--so is any election with less than 50% voter turnout illegitimate?

Anonymous said...

The Legslative branch has been dissolved not the Executive branch. Harper would remain PM and his cabinet would remain in tact but with a dissolved House of Commons there would be no leader of the Official Opposition. My guess would be that teh Senate would become the sole Legislature until we figured out wtf to do.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't a more plausible scenario be "what if no one voted in the Liberal leadership race?" Especially with the mail in ballots. Who would win then? Answer: Albertans.

Jeff J. said...

anonymous: of course not, you function according to the rules set out. In our electoral system the person with the most votes win, whether 100% turnout or 1% turnout. A zero percent turn out however changes the rules because no one abided by them.

Steve said...

Stephen Harper would remain Prime Minister and the Governor General would call a new election. It wouldn't actually be any less tenable a situation than exists between every dissolution of Parliament and its ensuing election.

Aaron said...

Dave: look up Jose Saramago's book entitled Seeing. It will give you some insight.

They'd blame the terrorists. they'd institute false flag terrorist attacks to legitimize the protective role of the state. They'd be at wit's end.

Rhys Courtman said...

How about... just picking our MPs randomly - like jury duty?

Might get better representation that way.... ;)

Anonymous said...

The democratic deficit is so large and the MSM so basically afraid to take on sensitive but important issues, it is no wonder that so many people are opting to do other than vote as usual.

A former DRO on another blog had a little insight. Rather than spoil one's ballot as a protest (not beneficial), one should go to the polls and formally reject their ballot as a protest. Apparently this is duly recorded.

Not voting is a cop out that only exacerbates the problem.

Another alternative is to vote Green as a least it may foster another way to open up debate on issues the Libs and Cons are not prepared to deal with.

Apparently AB had the largest number of Green votes in the last federal election and I don't think it was all about their platform.

Maestro said...

Wouldn't a government be formed by virtue of the fact that riding returning officers are bound by law to cast a deciding ballot in the event of a tie? Zero (or one ballot) for all candidates is indeed a tie. Basically, and rather ironically, we'd be letting the very people who are supposed to be most objective in the electoral process be the ones who would decide what Parliament would look like.

Rhys Courtman said...

"A former DRO on another blog had a little insight. Rather than spoil one's ballot as a protest (not beneficial), one should go to the polls and formally reject their ballot as a protest. Apparently this is duly recorded."

There's a few ways to reject your ballot; they're listed here. Though, if you're looking to make a statement, it would appear that those rejected ballots end up in the same column as "spoiled," when it comes down to the final Elections Canada statement of results. So, in the end, only you will know the difference....

If you really want to stir the pot, you can either sell your vote or destroy the ballot itself. Prison time optional.

Kirk Schmidt said...

I think Maestro wins.

That would sure make election night non-eventful. It's 8:00pm and... all results are in.