Niagara Gazette

August 30, 2013

HAMILTON: Do you vote 'write'?

By Ken Hamilton
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — No, the above headline is not a typographical error, even though it could have well been written as, “Do you vote ‘right’?”

While it may not be easier for the vote counters, with the new voting machines — it is now easier for you to actually ‘write’ in the name of the person that you think would best do the job, regardless of for whom the parties ran the petitions. Those were the people that the parties, not you, liked best.

I often hear voters proudly pound upon their chests and proclaim that, “I don’t vote for the party, I vote for the person.”

They mean well, but well, they are wrong. If the political parties chose which person(s) that will be on the ballots, then sadly, you voted for the party; you just did it through the person.

That’s not how a democracy is supposed to work; and it is probably why our city doesn’t work, either.

Did you know that politicians in that shining city on a hill across the river from our own, Niagara Falls, Ont., do not run on party lines unless they are running for a provincial (state) or federal position? If we factor that single difference out of the equation of their success, they may be in as poor condition as are we. On the other hand, if we factor it into our poor condition, we may no longer have a poor condition.

Given our shrinking population, and all of the political factors that have caused it to shrink, this year, we voters have the unique opportunity to actually vote for “the person” that we think can best do the job — even if it based solely upon the person’s past accomplishments, regardless of what and which party might indicate differently.

Some candidates out there are running “write-in” campaigns. Maybe you’d want to consider learning how to vote by write-in, and then doing so.

There was a time that we used our finger to vote for a candidate by pulling a lever in the old voting machines. Sadly, too many of our politicians returned the favor to their constituents in similar fashion.

Now we have to use our hand to hold the marker to vote; and happily, we may be able to give some candidates an applauding hand while giving others the old backhand.

Remember, if we do what we have always did, then we will get what we always got.

Do you think that for the good of our city and county that you would want to explore the option of “voting write”?

Contact Ken Hamilton at

Contact Ken Hamilton at