VOTE: volition objectively and totally expressed

Why vote? It is not unusual to find this sentiment being expressed. When we use the expression ‘not unusual’, there is no exaggeration because even for a high voting percentage of 75, one out of every four subscribes to this line of thinking. Of the three who do vote, discounting the ones who vote on caste lines, religious overtures and patriarchal dictates there isn’t much left to be counted as ethical voting. Every five years, this opportunity ordained by our constitution comes to us; and we let it go, perhaps unaware of its import. Swear we do whenever we would. Vote we mostly don’t; at least not in the manner we should!

Many reasons have been attributed to the low voter turnout in elections. Despite the good work done in maintaining a healthy electoral roll, it is often found that many voters are far away from their place where their names appear in the voter list when it comes to the day of voting. 

Many have their names in the place of their permanent domicile; and have not cared to find out if they are eligible to vote where they are normally resident. Ironically the legal provision is that your eligibility (and duty) to vote is where you are normally resident (and not at your permanent ‘non’-residence). Your voting right (and duty) exist where you ‘normally rest in the night’. With the Election Commission being swift in the process of adding, deleting and shifting names in the electoral roll, it is relatively safe to assume that you can shift your name to where you can and must vote.

Apathy regarding political issues and an acquired indifference of the urban population to the systemic instruments of democracy are often cited as among the main reasons why people don’t vote. Another factor is that politics is generally treated as an arena of the old by the youth and they stay disconnected from the political stream. There is also a noticeable absence of women in the voting process in some areas. 

They do not find the intricacies of politics appealing; and cannot perhaps care less. Many of the women who do come out to vote are remote-controlled and their participation is at best an attestation of the assertions sought to be made by the males in the family. Vulnerability arising from financial constraints or social position is another deciding factor in voting. 

If threatened or cajoled, a common man might desist from voting or vote under pressure. Objectivity of the process is lost and enfranchisement instead of becoming an empowering right gets reduced to an unwanted burden. In the chicken and egg puzzle of ‘if development leads to more voting or vice versa’, one is free to take sides.

On arrangement with GovernanceNow
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