The X-factors
Circles of conversation - CCA 2019 graduate students proceedings

How to Cite

Berenstein, O. (2020). The X-factors: Exploring the reception of the cross (X) in Get Out the Vote campaign materials. Stream: Interdisciplinary Journal of Communication, 12(1), 31–52.


This paper asks to ground the scholarly knowledge about the role and reception of the X (or cross) as a visual cue for elections in Canadian political visual culture. While the character X (or the symbol of a cross as it is often referred to) is one of the most prominent visual cues used in visual voting encouragement materials in Canadian visual culture, little, if at all, is known about its reception by audiences. This paper asks to contribute to the understanding of the symbol and its reception by citizens. The paper is divided into three sections: 1) establishing the status of the character X as a symbol of elections in Canada, 2) examining ideal uses and occasional misuses of the X, 3) exploring the possibility of replacing the X with an alternative - the checkmark (✔). In conclusion, this work suggests that there is a growing need to reconsider the use of the X in Get Out the Vote posters, and it offers alternatives to it.