The Dilemma Repeats Itself / Reinaldo Escobar

In the midst of the candidate nomination assemblies for the district delegate elections, the opposition media has revived the discussion about what to do on the day we are supposed to vote. The options are the following:

  1. Go to the polls as one more citizen, read the biographies of the proposed candidates, and vote for whomever we see fit.
  2. Go to the polls and deposit a blank ballot in the ballot box.
  3. Go to the polls and mark the ballot with some message, which automatically annuls the ballot.
  4. Don’t go to the polls and exercise the right to abstain.

In option number 1 (which I daresay most people will choose) there is a sub-option that in our neighborhood some opponent will have managed to jump the barriers and get themselves on the list of candidates, in which case, and assuming we support our colleague, exercising our vote will have a different meaning.

In the case of options 2 and 3, they will have no influence on the election results because only valid ballots are counted and only if we are present at the hour of scrutiny can we know the number of invalid ballots, because the law establishes that the public report of the count is made on an unused ballot where there is no space to write the numbers of annulled or blank ballots. Nor are ballots with slogans recorded.

Those who choose option 4 should know whether their name has previously appeared in the registry of voters, because it is common practice at the sites where the lists are prepared not to include those who haven’t previously voted. If the name is not on the registry the absence won’t even influence the percentage of abstentions.

As unequivocal proof of the already traditional disunity of the opposition movement, in the October elections there will be no consensus about what the conduct should be of those who don’t believe in the process, much less will it be possible to figure out how many of those who cast their vote for some candidate did so out of conviction, out of pure formality, or from fear of being marked by the regime’s watchdogs. There are still people who believe that the ballots come numbered or that there is a camera in the voting booth or that they take your fingerprints from the paper.

It seems to me they’re already reading the headlines in the Granma newspaper.

17 September 2012