Vote Stubbs!

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Stubbs the cat is the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska. He’s held the position for years, apparently:

I think electing a cat for political office is a glorious idea. More to the point, I think the write-in campaign that resulted in his election is a glorious idea. I’m sick of being told I have to choose between bad option one or bad option two. I support option three: neither.

I know, I know, as residents of democracies we’re regularly admonished about our responsibility to vote responsibly. If option one is even just a little less bad than option two, you should vote for one.

That’s nonsense. For starters, a huge number of people don’t vote, period. So what if the people who vote now just voted as per usual in the next election – federal, provincial or municipal – but all the non-voters took up the mission of telling our politicians how fed up we are with the status quo. Imagine if the 40, 50 or 60 percent of eligible voters who don’t usually bother all voted for the same write-in candidate. Or all spoiled their ballots. Or all wrote the same thing on their ballot.

Would it make a difference? Maybe not. But maybe it would. Such an overwhelming statement of mass discontent could trigger any number of unforeseeable changes in the way democracy works in our country. Can a majority party really claim a mandate if even more voters opted to vote for Stubbs the cat, or wrote in ‘none of the above’?

There’s no need to exclude the regular voters, either. They could check off a protest ballot, too. And why not. It’s not like the party that wins in a parliamentary democracy represents the majority anyway. By population, it’s always less than 50-per cent of eligible voters. All the winner needs is more than any other single party in more ridings than any other party (or more than half the ridings for a majority).

In theory, if 60-per cent of eligible voters cast ballots, and three national parties run candidates in all ridings, a majority government could be formed with the approval of less than 20 percent of eligible voters, maybe far less (I think…how’s my math?).

A vote for Bozo the Clown wouldn’t make a mockery of the democratic process. On the contrary, it would show we care.


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