Free to vote – or not

The low turn out for the election has prompted inevitable calls to make voting compulsory.

That would be an expensive waste of time and energy that would be better spent elsewhere.

I can think of a great deal many other useful ways to spend public money than on detecting and prosecuting people who don’t think or care enough to participate in the political process in this small but important way.

The apathy and ignorance here contrasts starkly to the lengths people go to in order to vote in other countries.

Early on Monday, queues formed outside polling stations in Cairo before the official opening time of 08:00 (06:00 GMT).

A high turnout was reported in many areas, and in places queues were said to have stretched up to 3km (two miles).

It is disturbing that people on the other side of the world are so keen to vote when many here simply couldn’t be bothered.

But that is no argument for compulsion. If we’re really free to vote we must also be free to not.

One Response to Free to vote – or not

  1. Andrei says:

    Compulsion is never the answer – inspiring people is always more fruitful.

    And people were not inspired to vote last Saturday – and that’s the bottom line.

    If Labour wants to win they need a vision to sell and one which the people who buy into it believe they can deliver on.

    Among the people I know who vote Labour they all saw John Key as the only viable option for PM and in the electorate itself it was a done deal with regard as to which candidates would be part of the next Parliament – three of them in our case.

    It’s easy to see why people didn’t engage – even more so when the pre election discourse was mostly about tea tapes, billboard vandalism and supposedly “illegal” candidates and not much of that vision thing.

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