This blog is sponsored by Democracy. Democracy- that thing you whine about but are secretly thankful still exists.
For citizens of the United States, election season has properly arrived. From now until June 14th, primaries and caucuses will be happening across the country. If you are eligible to vote, this is your opportunity to help support your preferred candidate.
But this blog isn’t for those people who are waiting to cast their vote to shape politics to benefit them and their needs.
In recent years, across the globe, the concept of the protest vote has boomed. It can take the form of a voting boycott or mass voting for a party that lies outside the establishment. Within the setting of a smaller setting, such as student elections and university societal elections, this can take the form of abstaining and voting for RON (Re-open nominations) without valid reason. While I respect your choice not to vote or to proceed with one of the otherwise mentioned tactics, please respect my freedom to call you an idiot. And here’s why:
- You aren’t actually boycotting: So you’ve decided to boycott the election. You think that the system is broken and so you are going to show the world the power of the people by boycotting the election. That’s great, congratulations. However, the problem is that unless a significant number of people alsoboycott, all you are doing is not voting. Voting works like this- votes are tallied for each candidate/party, cancelling one another out until one side starts to have more votes than their opponent. Unless you have organised a mass boycott, then all you are doing is allowing one party or candidate to beat their opponent more easily. In addition, you boycott does not count as some sort of anti-vote. Say you boycott the US general election because you don’t believe Trump should still be allowed in the race after all of his controversy- that’s great but I can assure you that Trump’s supporters are certainly not boycotting the election and so, by not voting, you are helping hand candidates like Trump the election.
2. Protest voting is just dangerous: So you’re actually going to vote, that’s a good start. But wait, you’re going to SHOW the major political parties what the power of the people stands for? Case and point, in 2014, the UK held its elections for the European Parliament and due to distrust of the major political parties, the United Kingdom Independence Party won the election and thus took the most MEPs (Members of European Parliament). Yes, due to protest voting, a party that doesn’t believe Britain should be in the European Union currently represents Britain in the European Parliament. And the same is happening in the United States- Trump is popular because people don’t trust the political establishment. And believe me, as a US citizen, it terrifies me that Trump is garnering the success he has. Protest votes serve no purpose except to screw up a country by electing unsuitable candidates because they don’t align themselves with the people and parties you currently hate.
3. Abstaining for no reason: Why bother showing up to an event and abstaining for no apparent reason? Unless you genuinely have a reason to abstain, a vote to abstain is lazy and often shows that you don’t care about the issues at hand. If you turn up to an electoral event in order to just abstain from everything, just send a postal vote to the event. Don’t want waste the time and money to go to the event just so you can declare that you have chosen not to vote on a particular issue.
So whether you are voting in something as big as a state primary or something as small as the election for an exec in a university society, heed my advice- voting is a right. Don’t abuse or waste that right. Cast a vote, make a difference,