The right not to vote

non vote

Civic responsibility is a moot point. If you pay your taxes, put your bins out and register on the electoral roll, surely that’s it? Why should you trot off to the polling station if you don’t want to?

It might be that the very act of not voting is the precise message you want to send to political candidates. Those who claim to represent us, do not have a credible mandate if less than 25% of eligible voters put a X against their name.

You might argue that the vote was a democratic right that our predecessors fought for, and that we owe them a duty to exercise that right. But if I go to my local supermarket to buy apples and don’t like the selection they have on display, I feel no obligation to choose one from a bad lot.

If the electorate are indifferent to the canvassing of their political candidates and the policies they promote, let them stay away from the polling booths. Perhaps we need an electoral rule that leaves a seat empty if not enough votes are cast. I’d vote for that.

Television coverage shows that there are plenty of empty seats in debating chambers, even with a full complement of elected representatives. Let’s make non voting a positive act of protest.


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