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CTV are uneducated wankers (i.e., the bad kind of journalists)
beaver
saxifrage00
Someone in sfu pointed me to a CTV story entitled “Spoiling ballot is a crime, warns Elections Canada”, dated today.

There are two things wrong with the article and headline. First, the headline gives the impression that Elections Canada came out and made a statement about ballot-spoiling, which it didn’t. The article is just taking a section from the Canada Elections Act that says defacing, altering, or destroying a ballot willfully is criminal.

The second thing wrong with this article is that it’s flat out wrong. Spoiling a ballot is a perfectly acceptable method of protest in this electoral system—it’s just that there’s a particular method for making sure it’s counted as a “spoiled” ballot and not just someone marking too many candidates or scribbling senselessly. The handbook that they give the poll workers even has a section on how to spoil a ballot: They guy in line in front of me at my poll during the 2004 election was having the poll worker look it up for him so that he could spoil his ballot with confidence that it would be “counted”. If I recall right, the procedure is merely to put the ballot in the box unmarked.

The article then goes on to talk about the Ballot Eaters and to lament voter apathy. Sure, the article is right that eating your ballot is directly violating that section of the Act, but the sensationalist headline can only serve to disaffect more citizens. What wankers—by not doing their homework, they’ve become part of the problem that the article addresses. Sensationalist news is a plague on democracy. Hear that, journalists? Make good on your profession or live with being the political equivalent of a pus-filled, scabrous plague bearer.

Here’s the feedback that I gave them via their feedback button at the bottom of your page. If you’re as disgusted with the article as I am, give them an earful too.


Irresponsible lack of research on spoiling ballots

While it may be illegal to deface a ballot, that’s not how spoiling a ballot works. (“Spoiling ballot is a crime, warns Elections Canada”, Jan. 23 2006.) In the handbook for those wonderful volunteers who tend the polls is a section on how a voter may spoil a ballot properly. If I recall correctly, the procedure is merely to put the ballot in the box unmarked.

Spoiling a ballot is an important way of registering dissent in our system. Shame on you for so irresponsibly failing to do your homework. How many more people have become cynical about our electoral process after reading your obviously-sensational headline about it being a crime to “spoil” a ballot? You defeat the entire purpose of an article that laments voter apathy. For shame. I do hope that you’ll make what amends you can and print a correction as soon as possible.

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*grin* I do love you.

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