Thoughts On Voting And Politics (IV) – So Why Bother Registering To Vote?

Many young people have convinced themselves to avoid politics because they are frustrating, overwhelming and often seemingly hopeless like a bottomless pit, with no end, just corruption and entanglements.

It almost seems easier to passively let things unfold, without being too attached to it all. It’s not entirely because we are disinterested. We just know too much disappointment, and often find ourselves on survival mode. So it’s almost akin to self-preservation.

What we usually don’t consider is how politics affects every aspect of our existence, even when we don’t want it to. For as long as one is gainfully employed, they are subjected to the payment of taxes, even if you don’t vote. Elected politicians decide which roads are mended, and what policies and laws are implemented, even when we have not voted. There is literally nowhere to hide from politics in a democratic republic. It is hoped that the reading of this piece will inspire it’s readers, with a particular focus on the younger generation, to register to vote now, for the 2019 elections.

It has been said, that there are about as many reasons to vote as there are voters. We are in dire need of accurate representation of ourselves in our leadership. Only we can insist on that. We can inspire it out of our leaders, either by demanding it from them, or in influencing a change in leadership. We just have to be conscious of the amount of power we yield collectively, but even more, individually. We also have to be patient. But not patient in the ways youth are constantly shamed, when it is said by some adults. Patient in deliberate efforts to ensure that we achieve what we desire, for ourselves and for the other generations to come.


So why register to vote?

To begin with, if you haven’t registered to vote, you cannot vote in the next general elections. All the other reasons that will follow are more to do with why we all need to vote, and why we all need to ensure that our affiliates, friends and families vote in the next elections because it is crucial.

It is almost corny to insist that one’s vote is important to have their voice heard. It’s corny because it has been said so many times, and we are uncertain of the accuracy. But each voter literally has the same number of votes. One! The same one we are each accorded, legally. The reason each of us have this one vote to cast, is that each of our votes counts. In the converse, our silence, or failure to vote, therefore also counts. Our votes are what impacts the outcomes we see, and the

change in the debates had by our candidates. If our only concerns are partisan politics, our politicians, whose sole job it is, to keep us impressed and satisfied, will indulge in partisan politics, without considering issues of grave national significance. Many elections are decided on the votes of fewer members of the population, because many of us are almost oblivious to the power in our votes, and even the message that a vote sends.

What message does a vote send? You communicate the priorities you have for your ward, district and country by your vote. By selecting a candidate or a party, you are endorsing the things that the candidate insists on championing. You also align yourself with the beliefs, faiths and principles of the candidate’s political party. That then influences who the president of the country is. It also influences how national decisions are made, what policies are passed, the quality of the healthcare and education we receive, and even the safety of our communities. We often don’t see the interconnectedness of all of these. In fact, we might even miss the ways in which merely voting can draw attention to certain matters. Sometimes, the candidate we vote for may not be successful. However, taking into account how close the votes may have been, because of how many people vote, influences who runs in the next elections, and the various issues our leadership will take into consideration.

Declining to honour one’s right to vote effectively ensures that others vote on their behalf. The voters decide what matters, and who wins.

Finally, we have to vote because of what is at stake. A movement can guide a shift in national main concerns. That is how lobbying works. A community decides to endorse a candidate because of the change the candidate is capable of effecting once in leadership, and pushes the agenda of the movement in this way. Business people do it all the time. They sponsor a politician they know will follow through and ensure that the market in which they have an interest is conducive for them to thrive in. Movements may not have the money of the business people, but movements have the numbers of voters. Elections are won by counting the votes of the people.

In this piece that concludes the series on voting and politics, we have to note that it is up to us to ensure that our leadership are vision driven, and have the best interests of our communities at heart.

There Are No Others



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