Wednesday, 16 June 2010


With the recent elections revealing how uncertain the electorate has been as to who should govern this country of ours, the usual statements about people using their votes come to the fore.

There is a strong feeling that everyone should use their vote, particularly when one considers that there was a time when the ordinary man did not have that privilege and that women too were denied the opportunity of choosing who should rule them until very recently.

Many suggest that those people not bothering to vote should be summonsed or pressured in some other way to use their ballot paper. Given the the circumstances mentioned above, this attitude is understandable but such a draconian measure appears to smack of an attack on the individual's right to remain outside politics for one reason or another.

It would seem a much more fairer idea for the voter to be given a chance to show that he feels there is no-one for whom he could offer his support. To this end perhaps the ballot paper could have a box at the bottom of the list of candidates'names for abstention. This would demonstrate the fact that if there had been a candidate worthy of a vote the abstainer would have elected him or her but that since the voter can see no-one worthy of consideration he displays this fact by abstaining. For instance if the candidates were Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot, quite clearly a conscientious elector would not favour any one of these. In this case, his cross in the abstention box would show his willingness to attend the polling station and vote but that there was no-one he considered fit to take a representative position in this country.

To summons someone for disinterest or being in a genuine dilemma is not the answer and would involve expensive and useless prosecution but allowing a voter to declare his wish to abstain allows the voter a declaration and carries a clear message to all candidates.

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