Tag Archives: elections

If they wanted the right to vote, they’d better use it!

If a world had a perfect solution to how to rule a country, we would have the same rules and regulations everywhere. Some issues are always under debate. When I was abroad on an European youth project, I participated in country-bulding simulations, by which I mean we were presented with a map of four countries whose governments and most of population were destroyed during Third World War. Our task were to establish brand new political system, create government and take diplomatic actions among one another. It was very developing experience, especially as we were in different ages , ranging from those who just started high school to seniors at university. During the process of establishing laws and writing constitution, we got into an argument over the suffrage. The main question was if it should be obligatory as it forces people to be interested in who runs for seats, it is good solution. But is it democratic at all?

History is abundant in examples for groups of people to fight for their right to vote. There was a long and backbreaking work to be able to go once in a while to put a piece of paper with a name on it in the ballot box, just to express a personal wish who you want to be governed by. It took women almost a hundred years to be finally recognized as a person able to vote in United States in 1920. Four years later, Native Americans were granted such a right. Then, it took a lot of great personalities, such as Martin Luter King Jr or Rosa Parks, and thousands of supporters for the Black People to follow. And after several decades we take this right for granted, showing low interest in politics and expressing it in low turnouts on elections. So, there is an idea od making voting not a right, but a duty.

Some countries already force their citizens to show up at the ballot  Рas for example Luxemburg, Brasil or Australia. The reason of such a policy is obvious Рif you have to vote, you will probably get to know who you want to support and improves the general knowledge of what government is doing. They are representing all of their citizens, after all. Another advantage is that this solution diminishes the possibility of absence during elections for petty reasons such as bad weather or lack of good transportation. Moreover, compulsory voting ensures that there is no discrimination against disabled people as it must provide facilities for any kind of needs.

But if it is such a good solution, why only 22 countries are practising it? It may have many advantages, but I strongly believe that the state should never impose an action on their citizens. That is the first step to abolish democracy. If someobody doesn’t feel the need to be a part of community, they should have the right to abstain from the vote, that’s the point of having freedom. Also, there are people who don’t really know what the world of politics is all about and will support a person who is best with words. Then, it is great opportunity for populists to get power and then not fulfill their promises, which is certainly not what the state want to achieve.

It is always very easy to use force to get the intended effect. And violence, even in the form of fines (especially as they are often very hefty fines!) is never the answer for an issue, which here is lowinterest in government. We may quote the famous words that the democracy is the worst system ever, but there is no better option. And may it have positive effect on society, but in my opinion, giving away part of personal freedom in the name of presumption that citizens will be more aware of the events in the government is way too high.