White Ballot vs. 128 New Candidates

The debate is ongoing among political and social activists about the right strategy for the 2013 elections. We all agree that a strong campaign needs to be done to oppose the Octopus. But how to do this still has no consensus. I’ve made a comparison table to flesh out ideas. Some points are of course more important than others and one could find a way to turn losses into wins in different categories. But I needed to get the discussion rolling with some feedback from you guys. What do you think?

White Ballot 128 New Candidates
Wins on Principle
The White Ballot symbolizes a strong refusal of the political system and its ruling regime and the electoral law. It doesn’t have a religious confession and is the only constant voice across Lebanon. A campaign for new candidates could attempt to subvert the system but remains tied to religious and regional quotas and it acknowledges the electoral law.
Wins on Excitement
Many see the White Ballot as a defeatist attitude that doesn’t get you anywhere. It’s difficult to get people to campaign actively for a White Ballot. Nominating full lists against the Octopus is a lot more exciting because it is a more direct confrontation. People are more excited to campaign beforehand and on the day.
Wins on Cost
Zero nomination fees. Nomination fees alone cost $700,000.
Wins on Accuracy
White voters may make their choice for a number of sectarian / corruption reasons and would still be counted as opposition, which is inaccurate. Only people who fully support the platform would vote for new lists, so whatever number we win is the right number of our ideas’ strength in Lebanon.
Wins on Ease
Campaign pretty much runs itself. We could put more effort into it, but it is familiar and easy. Very difficult and doesn’t have a grassroots or party base to build on.
Wins on Breakthrough Possibility
Many voters reject the current status but feel obligated to vote for a certain person or more. Names (if a majoritarian electoral law) could break through lists of the Octopus and give people more options to take steps towards supporting new politics
Wins on Objectivity
White Ballot doesn’t have a personality behind it. Has difficult task of finding good candidates who are fully committed to the project, not to personal gains.
Wins on Mobilization
Most of the mobilization will be done close to Elections Day, doesn’t solicit too much work beforehand. Forces people to work harder, connect across regions and issues, and gives movement building a boost.
Wins on Experience Building
Doesn’t gain much on-the-ground experience. Gives the organizers hands-on experience with electoral campaigning and processes in Lebanon.
Tie on Posing a Threat Tie on Posing a Threat
If a large number of White Ballots is gained in every district, this discredits the politicians. Bothers them but doesn’t directly threaten their rule. If a large number of alternative votes is gained in every district, this could directly threaten the current system, but legitimizes the winners within a democratic system.
Win on New Participation
Doesn’t present new models of candidates or politicians. Allows for the emergence of new trends in political representation and participation such as women, youth, and workers.
Wins on Readiness
Ready to encompass all regions and communities. No prerequisites necessary. Needs to guarantee 128 (or large % of that at least) top notch candidates to be a viable project. Individual attempts will only affect certain communities and not contribute to the national project. Also, organizers still lack a lot of experience in this arena and it could affect the project negatively.
Wins on Support
Since people may want to support new candidates who have put themselves forth already, the White Ballot takes away from their votes. Will show support for those who have already, with a progressive electoral platform, announced their nomination.
Wins on Risk Management
Doesn’t face much risk, except if less than 10,000 white ballots are counted, which was the 2009 count. Risks strong demotivation and fallback if it fails to get traction for candidates (at least 1% of the voters).

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3 responses to “White Ballot vs. 128 New Candidates”

  1. Joubran AK says :

    I would go with the white ballot.

    -Could be a instigator for 2017 where you might have actually a fair law.
    -Have a dipstick of what you have on ground and spend the $700K on digital media be it on search or display. This should be coupled with a website that is dynamic and can grow with removing and adding elements.
    -I beleove people are just not ready for something new and we need to spend the next 4 years debating, building the platform, getting donations (10 – 15 big fundraisers), awareness, pushing new law and much much more.

    Joubran 🙂

  2. Zeina Ammar says :

    I disagree on one point mainly “Tie on Posing a Threat.” White ballots, no matter how many, will not shake the politicians nor affect the system. It might express refusal but so what? why would they care? they wouldn’t flinch. they’d be happy no one has enough courage to run. For white ballots to be significant they need to have a follow-up: a sit-in would be one way to do it but I have zero trust in Lebanese people in that area. Most of them don’t care enough to do it, not for a sufficient amount of time. which leads us back to no results.

  3. lola says :

    Guys just vote for the person who will best represent you in these elections. And let the best win (the best among the worst) . Though make sure that your information is correct on People of Leb http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/people-of-leb/id563519565?Is=1&mt=8

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