Should people be forced to vote?

Voting should be considered as a part of national duty. Not to vote means being unable to take a stand on issues or to be acquiescent about the policies undertaken by those in charge. It also means a sign of public protest when the turnout is very low.

However there is no way to force people to vote if they don’t want to as it amounts to forcing them to choose between candidates or policies they don’t care about. What matters is to have transparent elections reflecting the will of those who choose to vote. In any society, there are people who are born to lead and others who are born lo be led. There are passive as there are active citizens. There are those for whom whatever policy won’t make a difference as the system remains the same regardless of the apparent new approaches.

Making voting compulsory means forcing people to choose a direction among others. In dictatorial regimes, people vote out of fear of being persecuted and the percentage of approval varies from 99.99% to 100%.. In this case not to vote has more significance than voting because it amounts to challenging those who seek to stay in power by whatever means and elections become just a formality to “legitimize” their stay in power.

In some countries people aren’t forced to vote but they are bribed by candidates to vote for them. The one who can give more money is the most likely to win. In such a case elections become just a sham. People cast their vote out of “gratitude” for the “generosity” of the candidate and not because of a plan to serve them.

Elections can have credibility if they are carried out transparently and aren’t like a carnival season in which there are parades, dances and banquets or at worst, they are periods of violence. The most violent and intimidating party secures the winning votes.

In such a case, abstaining from voting is a way to stay clean and not to be embroiled in a corrupt system that legitimises its victory through mean methods that make fool of those who put their trust in the candidates only to find that they were used by them to secure a comfortable post at the expense of the deprived.


  1. tobinite said,

    June 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Meow my brothas

  2. tj traster said,

    May 16, 2012 at 12:20 am

    that was a very intelectually written article and i am most pleased to read it repeatedly and i do recommend it to my colluges

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