Marking My X


I voted today.

The EU election ballot sheet seemed to have about 15 candidates on it. I had to mark an X in one of the boxes.

UKIP was near the bottom. And one of the candidates was a Facebook friend, Bill Etheridge.

It’s not often I really, really want to vote for someone. And I hardly ever get the chance. So I spent a long time lovingly drawing a big black X in the UKIP box, using my own pen rather than the easily-erasable pencil provided. It gradually became something of an artistic statement, as it got bigger and bolder and blacker. And I began to wonder whether I could make it look like a bullet hole in the ballot paper, with four jagged tears radiating from the centre.

After I’d folded up the completed ballot paper and slotted it into the ballot box, I wondered whether some artist voters also tend to see the box provided as a canvas on which to paint a variety of different X’s. A Salvador Dali X would probably be a soft, droopy X. And a Vincent van Gogh X would be a swirling starry night X. And an M. C. Escher X would be an impossible 3D X. And so on. There are any number of possible kinds of multi-coloured X’s. Given a few hours, I might even have been able to produce an X like the one above.

I was also thinking about something I figured out 25 years ago – which is that given that all the various bits of paper (ballot sheet, registration form, etc.) have unique numbers on them, and all associated either with each other or with me, it was possible for the electoral commission to collate all the information, and find out not only the total votes cast for each candidate, but exactly who voted for whom. And if they can do that, I bet they do do that. So I’m sure that the UK government has a record somewhere of every single vote I’ve ever cast.

And given that the political class now treats voters with utter contempt, I sometimes wonder whether they even bother to count the votes, and just divide them up between Labour, Conservative, and Lib Dem on some pre-agreed basis. That way, you’d always get a LibLabCon government. And the political establishment would need have no fear of voters, and so come to feel utter contempt for them.

The only thing that might rock the boat would be the arrival of upstart new parties, who weren’t in on the deal.

I’m very far from convinced that anything like this is actually happening. In fact, I don’t think it is. But in a time where outright fraud is endemic everywhere else, what’s to prevent it from extending to the ballot as well?

Anyway, probably my ballot paper has landed in front of some counter by now. And she’s taken it over to her supervisor to show him.

Vote count croydon

“What do I do with this one?” she’ll have asked. “It looks just like a bullet fired into the ballot paper, with lines radiating in all directions. Does that count as an X?”

And the supervisor will have studied my artwork carefully, and said, “No, we can’t have that. Voters are asked to mark a cross next to their chosen candidate, not produce an entire bleeding work of art.  So mark it as a spoilt ballot.”

“And put it in the pile with all the other Picassos and Matisses and Leonardo da Vincis.”

About Frank Davis

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19 Responses to Marking My X

  1. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank I went to vote Tuesday here in the Kentucky primaries. I too made my XXXX just like that 4 times thru it! Then the lady democrat gave me a sticler that said I VOTED. I quickly took it and stuck it to my arse in front of her…………..then walked to the truck and stuck it on my Rand Paul bumper sticker!

  2. I have spoiled a couple of ballot papers in recent elections. Living in rural Scotland, we don’t always get a UKIP candidate or any other pro-British fruitcakes. The last ballot paper had no room at the bottom to write, “None of the above” so I had to write at the top, “None of the below”.

  3. Tony says:

    I happen to know how ballot papers are judged. If someone uses an unconventional mark etc like a tick, asterisk, even ringing the candidate’s name or writing it down, then it is referred to the returning officer. They examine it in front of candidates and provided the intention is clear then they’ll allow it. But writing your own name is an absolute no-no.

  4. The Rainbow Bridge says:

    I voted UKIP allthough I am basically Pro European( NOT PRO EU) the main reason being
    I consider the three main parties guilty of 1st degree treason
    Year in and year out the Westminster Gang restrict the freedom,liberty and choice ,these virtues fought for and died for by our forebears. 500 years of struggle,wars,sacrifice,blood,sweat and tears,poverty and disease. For what, so a few hundred spivs,cheats and liars can simply tear up
    our way of life,our hopes and our heritage
    Question? Did you vote for a traitor ?

    • jaxthefirst says:

      RB, I don’t think you’re alone. As well as dyed-in-the-wool EU-haters voting for UKIP because of their stance on the EU, and smokers voting for them because of their stance on smoking, I think there’s a lot of people who don’t have massively strong feelings on either of those two issues, but who do feel disenchanted, betrayed, resentful and mistrusting of the Big Three and their stranglehold on power, and who are sick to the back teeth with their lies and broken promises, their constant interference in our lives and their arrogant disregard for the concerns of the electorate simply because they don’t happen to share them.

      For this third group, the rise in popularity of UKIP by virtue of the first two groups provided a long-desired opportunity to give the Big Three the most almighty kick up the a*se – which, it has to be said, is long overdue – without, this time, having to “waste” their vote on one of the Monster Raving Loony-type parties or rather ineffectually spoiling their ballot paper (or not voting at all).

      So, “protest votes” – as many candidates from the Big Three are trying to portray these results (still, you’ll notice, in essence thus regarding the electorate as a group of angry toddlers who’ll settle down and behave now that they’ve had their little rant) – might well feature to a fairly large extent in UKIP’s success at these elections but the fact is, if the Big Three don’t polish up their acts in response to whatever “protest” is being made (i.e. by first of all coming down off their high horses and actually addressing the concerns of the electorate rather than responding with their habitual “yes dear, but we really know best” platitudes), then they need to recognise that that very same “protest” will almost certainly take place again next year – in the General Election. Because what made us “toddlers” angry last time will go on making us just as angry if we have to put up with another year of the same old crap!

      After all, as the saying has it: “If you always do what you’ve always done – you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”

  5. Fredrik Eich says:

    It looks like the attempt to portray UKIP as a racist party has badly backfired – as predicted.

  6. Peter Allen says:

    As far as I’m aware it doesn’t have to be a cross, just a clear indication of intent in ONE BOX only.

    With regard to ‘the powers that be’ tracking how everyone votes, I wouldn’t be surprised. The facility has always been there, but before bar coding and computers it would have been too time consuming; now it would be so much easier.

  7. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Bloomberg is reporting without saying the name UKIP That Cameron and Labor lost many seats to the anti-immigration party……………I shit you not just saw it and froze it on the screen

  8. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Your gonna love this shit. We don’t read whats in the story we just push it off as fact even though weve cut commenting out as weve been shown to be as stupid as our content!

    Provided by University of Aberdeen

    This Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.

    Pregnant smokers who want to quit needed

  9. Barry Homan says:

    I sure wish I could have voted. Good for Nigel and his party, I predict a very dark future for the prohibitionists.

    • beobrigitte says:

      I’ve been banned there for a while – despite being polite. Perhaps they don’t like the truth….

    • kin_free says:

      I quoted the black lung lie but I was locked out on that one – they allowed a couple of others though – surprise surprise, generally mine are all censored out – but I keep on submitting them anyway.

  10. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Ok after changing emails accounts and such I got a comment in…………..

  11. Harleyrider1978 says:

    We are literally kicking MFn ass all over the world with these shit ass Nazis!

  12. beobrigitte says:

    I voted today.

    I voted yesterday. It was a quick procedure.

    I am still awaiting the results…

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