Monday, February 24, 2014

The Empty Vote

A mural by the entrance to the National University urges passersby to 'Vote en Blanco.'
You've probably seen the signs around town: Signs urging Colombians to 'Vote en Blanco': to leave your vote empty.
'Express your indignation.
Colombia votes blank.'

The goal is to persuade more people to leave their ballots blank than vote for the most popular candidate. (However, according to another interpretation of the law, more than half of the ballots must be left blank.) If the blank vote wins, nobody's elected and the election is repeated - with all different candidates.

To the throw-em-all-out crowd, this sounds great. But it would cause wholesale political chaos and uncertainty. And what reason do we have to think that the new, inexperienced politicians elected would be better than the previous ones? In Bolivia, where corruption was rife, friends told me that they always voted to reelect those holding office 'Because they've already filled their pockets thru corruption, while the new ones enter office with their pockets empty.'

Fortunately, there is a better way to replace bad politicians: Vote for somebody else.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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