A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 30, 2010
“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal”

Entry in progress—B.P.

[This entry was prepared with the assistance of Garson O’Toole, the Quote Investigator.]

Google Books
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
Pg. 668 (Sayings):
“If voting could change things, it would be illegal.”
Rennie Ellis, Australian Graffiti Revisisted (1979)

Google Books
North Country Anvil
Volumes 18-25
May-June 1976
Pg. 136:
If voting could change anything, it would be illegal; when it threatens to change anything, it becomes illegal.

24 September 1976, Lowell (MA) Sun, “Voting is dishonest,” pg. 7, col. 2:
If voting could change anything it would be made illegal!
Robert S. Borden, M. D.
North Main St.

Google Books
Peace News for Nonviolent Revolution
Issues 2087-2110
Pg. 93:
“If voting could change anything, it would be illegal”.

Google Books
April 1982, Mother Jones magazine, pg. 25, col. 2:
The graffiti that says, ‘If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal’ just about sums it up.”

Google Books
The Cynic’s Lexicon:
A dictionary of amoral advice

By Jonathon Green
London: Routledge & Kegan Paul
Pg. 84 (GRAFFITI):
If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.
London, 1979

Google Books
Who’s afraid of Margaret Thatcher?:
In praise of socialism

By Tariq Ali and Ken Livingstone
London: Verso Editions
Pg. 93:
If you look for a one-sentence answer, there’s a slogan I have occasionally seen painted on walls, I think by anarchists at the time of elections: IF VOTING CHANGED ANYTHING, THEY’D MAKE IT ILLEGAL.

19 July 1984, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Convention Notebook,” pt. 1, pg. A6:
Read a sign scrawled on the back of one woman’s leather jacket: “If voting changed anything, it would be illegal.”

Google Books
Natural Audiences:
Qualitative research of media uses and effects

By Thomas R. Lindlof
Norwood, NJ: Ablex Pub. Corp.
Pg. 247:
Another phrase that appears on the clothing of punks is, “If Voting Changed Anything, It Would Be Illegal!”

Google Books
Beyond Blame
By Stephen Greenleaf
New York, NY: Ballantine Books
1987, ©1985
Pg. 219:
The sign on the back of his leather jacket read IF VOTING CHANGED ANYTHING IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL.

OCLC WorldCat record
If voting changed anything, they’d abolish it
Author: Ken Livingstone
Publisher: London : Collins, 1987.
Edition/Format: Book : Biography : English

28 April 1991, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, “For reality politics it’s gut-check time,” pg. 1A
If voting actually changed anything it’s likely that politicians would figure out some way to make it illegal.

16 March 1992, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Imelda wants her shoes back” by Shelly Ogle, pg. A10:
“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal,” said dear old Unknown.

20 June 1993, San Antonio (TX) Express-News, pg. 3L:
Someone and no one seems to know who once said: “If voting changed anything they’d make it illegal.”

17 August 1998, Washington (DC) Times, Frantic schedules, indifference keep voters from the polls”:
It’s as if more and more of the electorate seems to subscribe to the old saw that “if voting could change anything, they would have made it illegal.”

New York (NY) Times
Happy National Apathy Day
By Will Durst
Published: November 2, 1998
It’d be totally different if it actually mattered. But it’s not as if we have any real choice. If voting were effective, they would have made it illegal by now.

Google Books
The Big Curmudgeon:
2,500 outrageously irreverent quotations and interviews with world-class grumps and cantankerous commentators

By Jon Winokur
New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Pg. 623:
If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.  EMMA GOLDMAN

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Wednesday, June 30, 2010 • Permalink