Rock The Vote > Policies
Rock The Vote
Lobby for N.O.T.A.
Endorse THE N.O.T.A. OPTION
“None of The Above”
On All Voting Ballets
The People’s Veto
Power to the People.
Statement of Principle: All legitimate consent requires the ability to withhold consent; “None of the Above” gives the voter the ballot option to withhold consent from an election to office, just as voters can cast a “No” vote on a ballot question. In Canada we have options of returning a ballot, or spoiling it and though the numbers of spoiled ballots are counted there is no recourse to the lack of support of our elected prime ministers, Mayors and Premiers.
If “None of the Above; For a New Election” receives the most votes, no candidate is elected to that office and a follow-up by-election, with new candidates, is held. Follow-up by-elections are far less costly than electing unacceptable candidates to office.
“N.O.T.A.” Would end the “must hire” elections where voters are often forced to vote for the least unacceptable candidate, the all too familiar “lesser evil.” The meaning of elections should become more clear, since voters would no longer be tempted to vote for a presumed losing candidate, with whom they really do not agree, as a protest vote.
N.O.T.A. should reduce negative campaigning by encouraging candidates to campaign for their own candidacy rather than against their opponent’s candidacy. Additionally this will mean a return to issue based politics, with a strong power in place to punish those who do not fulfill election promises. Many voters and non voters, who now register their disapproval of all candidates for an office by not voting, could cast a meaningful vote.
Campaign contributors who give to all candidates to insure “access” would no longer be sure they backed the winner; in general, buying elections should become a more uncertain enterprise.
Office holders, knowing they face “N.O.T.A.” in the next election, would be encouraged to insure their re-election by focusing more on doing a good job in office and less on attempting to prevent the emergence of an effective opposition candidate or gaining contributions from those who have a vested interest in controlling the political system.
When pre-election polls include “N.O.T.A.”, the feedback from voters should help guide candidates and parties. Even when “N.O.T.A.” does not win or is a non-binding N.O.T.A. the reported NOTA vote would help identify those offices for which voters might be more receptive to new candidates in a future election as well as limits the winner’s mandate.
Lastly, opportunities for election fraud should be reduced because fewer blank votes for an office would be cast.
Rock The Vote is dedicated to enacting Voter Consent laws.
There are two types of “none of the above” voting options: binding and non-binding. With binding, if “none of the above” receives more votes than the candidates listed, either a new election is ordered or the office goes unfilled. In the case of non-binding, if NOTA wins, it is symbolic.
In both instances, NOTA sends a message to political parties and their NOTA-defeated candidates. Run better individuals, or you will keep losing to “none of the above.”
NOTA on Michigan ballots is not farfetched. In 1995, House Bill No. 4794 was introduced by six state representatives but unfortunately never made it past its first committee. In Nevada, a non-binding NOTA voting option has been in place since 1975.
NOTA voting options on ballots would give a much-needed alternative to voters in Michigan and, perhaps, even encourage higher voter turnout. Citizens wouldn’t feel so compelled to shirk their voting rights because they can only vote for the “evil of two lessers.”
A NOTA option on ballots could also encourage higher voter turnout in the traditionally underrepresented 18- to 25-year-old demographic. Young adults could actually vote for something instead of against a candidate or not at all. After all, if you don’t like the candidates, don’t not vote for or against one candidate as a means of protest — vote NOTA!
NOTA is a worthwhile endeavor that would really benefit voters whether they choose to use the option or not. Until legislators give their constituents the opportunity to do this, however, voters will just have to keep voting for candidates they dislike or not vote at all.
Text reiterating statement from www.nota.org
“None of the Above” on the ballot has many thoughtful advocates, including The Wall Street Journal and Ralph Nader.
NOTA legislation has been introduced in Wyoming (1991), Colorado (1993), Michigan (1995), Ohio (1996), Pennsylvania (1996), and Arizona (1997), but has not come near passing anywhere yet. Nevada has had a non binding N.O.T.A. for state wide offices since 1976.
In a plebiscite in December 1998 in Puerto Rico, voters chose “None of the Above” from a list proposed future status options, reject all options including independence and statehood request.
Mr. David “None of the Above” Gatchell is attempting to put his name on the ballot as a candidate, promising to resign, if elected, once a by-election is held to replace him.
Community Voice: Peter Ponzetti III
‘Religious freedom’ sends the wrong message to the wrong people
It’s time to speak out against religious freedom.
Or, to be precise, against its promotion and the way it’s used. To those of us who believe freedoms should be absolute and robust, and are ardently opposed to the persecution of people for their beliefs, this might sound like an odd proposition. What could be more benign than another freedom
But Canada is within days of opening a federal Office of Religious Freedom (within the Department of Foreign Affairs), and it’s becoming apparent that this isn’t a good idea for our country or the world. In fact, it’s very likely to contribute to the very problems we hope it might help solve.
We might as well face it: When groups of people exercise their self-proclaimed religious freedoms, terrible things tend to happen. The phrase “religious freedom” is evoked by Hindu nationalist parties in India to justify killing rampages in Muslim neighbourhoods, by the Buddhist-majority government of Sri Lanka to imprison members of the country’s Hindu minority, by Jewish religious parties in Israel to call for the denial of Israeli Muslims’ full citizenship rights, and by crowds of Salafists and Islamists in Egypt bent on ruining the lives of Coptic Christians.
For the ardent religious believer and the organized, hierarchical religious organization, “religious freedom” often refers to the right to restrict the freedoms of others, or to impose one’s religion on the larger world.
That’s why the most important religious freedom is freedom from religion. This applies not just to those without religion. It’s even more important for believers, who are most often persecuted by other faiths. In those examples of persecution listed above, it’s protection from a religion – not more freedom for believers – that’s needed.
The problem is that “religious freedom” is deliberately vague. Does it refer to the freedom of individuals to hold religious beliefs of their choice, to speak and write openly of those beliefs without penalty, and to partake in religious rituals on private property and at places of worship?
Those are fundamental rights. They’re already protected in constitutional freedoms of speech, thought, conscience, assembly and basic equality. That our Constitution specifies a separate “freedom of religion” is redundant. That we would use a government office to promote religion above other freedoms is dangerous: It implies that they’re less important.
While Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom will certainly be capable of defending people against the forces of religion (and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird mentions this possibility in his speeches), it appears to be hard-wired to do something far less benign. Its advisers and board members appear to be mainly religious believers and leaders of religious congregations.
In notes for a lecture to be given in Ottawa later this month, Northwestern University scholar Elizabeth Hurd writes of the “hegemony of religious freedom”: By making it a priority, we force people to be defined by their religions, not by their personal, political, national, ethnic or democratic interests.
She asks: “Is the world created by religious freedom a world that we want to live in? Is there an alternative? … Projects carried out in its name effectively define what it means to be religious and to be free in the modern world. In short, they shape political realities and religious possibilities on the ground.”
In other words, the Office of Religious Freedom will simply be a reprise of Canada’s old policies of official multiculturalism – with all their flaws and none of their advantages. It will force even narrower cultural definitions, and seek to define people strictly by their religious identities, under the leadership of spiritual authority figures who want it that way.
You’d think that Canada would be seeking to promote Western and Canadian values in the world’s less privileged corners. Yet, the core values of our common culture, the things that make us Western and modern – democracy, equality, the rule of law – were forged through the rejection of religion and the overthrow of spiritual authority.
Of course, this is what made “religious freedom” possible in the first place, by allowing religion to become a separate sphere away from public life – a matter of choice, rather than a requirement of existence. Canada could promote this peaceful removal of faith from the state, in countries where religions try to dominate. But our Office of Religious Freedom will send the wrong message to the wrong people.
- Banking reformation
- We need to put an end to the fractional reserve banking system.
- The government Of Canada should return to financing the public debt though the Bank of Canada, interest free.
- Give us the power to create our own currency away from the private banking system.
- Corporate restrictions
- Restrictions be placed on the rights of corporations. Corporations are not people and should not share the same rights of people.
- In order to bring jobs back to Canada, lower the sales taxes on items with a majority of components or construction that has been carried out in Canada. Rather than penalizing corporations who act against Canadas interest, reward those companies manufacturing in Canada by clearly marking them as Canadian products and let consumers vote with their dollars.
- International corporations must be banned from making political donations as they represent only their own business interest which could at any time change from the greater interest of Canadians.
- Excessive executive recompense has also become detrimental to Canadian business and should also be restricted by law.
- Legislation to prevent conflict-of-interest board appointments (CEO’s serve on boards for other CEO’s giving each other handsome remuneration packages and other perks whilst ignoring bad performance)
- Investigate possible corruption or conflict of interest in the issuing of no-bid contracts. Penalize the companies who profited from corruption with financial penalties. If the penalties are too large to be paid and the corporation too big to fail, make them pay off that debt in installments.
- Fourth estate
- A healthy fourth estate being essential to the democratic process, a return to stringent media ownership laws are necessary to insure a free press in Canada.
- Military intervention
- An immediate end to all Canadian military intervention in all foreign countries.
- Stop supporting the US war machine through massive, overpriced purchases of new weapons and vehicles.
- Electoral reform
- It is clear that our current political system does not represent the wishes or needs of the Canadian people, therefore we demand political reform in Canada.
- Lower the voting age to 15 or 16.
- Allow online voting on the issues
- Provide information to the public on the issues.
- Allow proportional representation
- Add a none of the above option to the ballot so that voters do not have to consent to electing a leader they do not approve of or waste their vote. A plurality of the vote going to N.O.T.A. is grounds for a re-electon with new candidates.
- Corporate taxation
- For too long Corporations and the wealthiest income earners in Canada have not met their obligations to the rest of the country. The belief that giving tax breaks to this group creates employment is a fallacy. We therefore demand that policies be instituted that require large corporations and the top ten percent of income earners be taxed at a higher rate and that taxes for the rest of Canadians be reduced.
- Criminal code
- The Canadian criminal code be reviewed and policing policies be examined to ensure the rights and freedoms of Canadians are upheld and that the charter of rights and freedoms be strictly adhered to by all police services across Canada. Furthermore all Canadian police services submit to the authority of civilian review committees.
- Review Harpers recent attempts to pour massive amounts of money into building more prisons and mega prisons. Prisons do not help decrease crime rate. They do the opposite.
- For those prisons we already have, provide access to proper medical and mental health treatment and counseling for in-mates.
- Canadian sovereignty
- All policies and negotiations that threaten Canadian sovereignty such as CETA, SPP, and Border Security agreements are suspended immediately, and Canada’s participation in international agreements such as Codex Alimentarius and agenda 21 are put on hold pending review in a more public forum. Canadian sovereignty is to be considered the right of the people and not to be traded or bartered by our government.
- Natural resources
- Canada’s natural resources are to be reconsidered the public property of all the Canadian people. All harvesting, mining, logging and oil extraction to be reviewed and put to vote by direct referendum with consideration to environmental impact and benefit to the people of Canada and not solely the corporations that extract them.
- Additionally, though corporations lay claim on ownership of land they do not take the same due care and responsibility that a normal person would as owner in protecting the land, the air and the water. That the rights of native people in accessing their land super-cede above all else the development of that land away from traditional uses. That we respect that natural resources may seem at times of great success to be infinite but that the health of the land is a finite resource.
- Basic human rights and freedoms
- Basic human rights and freedoms of the individual are to be considered paramount, and shall supersede all laws passed by government.
- Every Canadian has the right to justice, food, health, shelter, information, transportation, spirituality / culture, equality, environmental sustainability, safety and the freedom to live unencumbered of excessive government intervention.
- Additionally, we must recognize all nations as valid including those of the Native peoples of Turtle island and all other continents. We must recognize fairness and equality for all nations and must use our power in the United Nations to argue on behalf of all those treated unfairly or oppressed by the rule of might makes right. We must end the war on terrorism and acknowledge that it has caused more harm than good as we must also acknowledge that our country, Canada, has acted terroristically against the Native Peoples who share this land which is rightfully theirs, both in our aggressive military action and also in the lack of due justice for those aggrieved of unpunished killings in the reserves.”
- Bring welfare and disability payments in line with inflation and cost of living, especially rent, for which the current levels are not really useful.
- Student debt
- Bail out student debt.
- Outlaw naked short selling on the stock market.