Admittedly, this post is hard to write. There are many angles to take on the subject and from the offset, we acknowledge that this post may not cover every conundrum out there. Nonetheless, we will attempt to provide solutions and revisit some arguments that disgruntled voters or a casual abstainer may present. We believe that voting is a civic duty. Elections are one of the best ways in which citizens can exercise influence on what goes on in their country, and they should therefore choose the party that they think is the best fit to lead the country.
I do not like either of the main parties.
You might feel dissatisfied by the two main political parties. In some way or another, both might have disappointed you. This lack of choice has eroded your will to vote . However, a bipartisan duopoly in parliament was not always the case and there are more options than you think.
In the past, parliament was actually made up of multiple parties, which over time merged to pool resources and votes, forming the main parties of today. Presently, a number of third parties do still exist, and it is true that none of these parties have recently made a significant mark on politics. However, if people who are dissatisfied with the PN and PL decide not to show up at the polling booth, how can these smaller parties ever leave a mark?
The small parties are not up to the task.
Some may believe that these third parties are amateurs and cannot possibly provide solutions to the country’s problems, so once again, they will revert to either choose the traditional parties or abstain from voting altogether.
The election is an exercise in choosing who people think is the best option to lead the country in the next 5 years. Even if you have a low opinion of all parties, one party surely ranks higher than the others. Choosing that option is always better than not choosing at all. Do you want others with different priorities than your own to make that decision for you? Remember, you represent a specific demographic with similar thoughts and concerns. Abstaining from voting will only result in voters with different priorities than your own to make decisions for you.
Not voting sends a message that I am not happy with the system.
To be blunt: it does not. Political parties win elections by obtaining 50%+1 of the entire vote. It’s all about percentages. If the turnout decreases from 92% to 87%, the electoral process is not affected. It simply means that other people have made the decisions for you. Your opinion is the one that did not get heard. Like we said before, assuming you do not consider any of the options as ideal, once you sit down and analyse their proposals, one party will come out on top.
I see no difference between the two main parties.
Admittedly, both major parties have moved closer to each other on the political spectrum. However, they are not identical. Both parties have different objectives for the next five years, and their politicians have different skills. Each party has different proposals which will affect you differently. As we outlined in one of our previous posts, make a list of your own priorities and match them with what the political parties are saying. One of them will overlap more than the other for sure.
I do not understand politics
Sometimes, politics can get complicated, but more often than not, it is more straightforward than you think. Dedicate a few minutes to reading the news and finding out what is going on around you. And if you do not have a clear answer to some of your questions, Spunt has you covered. We are just one message away from answering your queries. In the past, we have answered questions from our audience, and we look forward to doing more of that in the future.
My vote doesn’t matter.
Yes, the icing on the cake. For those who believe that their vote doesn’t count, the argument is pretty fickle. In a democracy with such a small electorate as Malta, every individual vote counts more. An electoral victory of 40,000 is considered a landslide in Malta, but a very close call in bigger countries. In 2017, if 11 out of every 100 PL voters decided to vote PN instead, the outcome would have been the opposite way round.
It is also important to remember that when voting you are not only choosing parties, but also candidates. Some candidates only surpass their opponents and get into parliament by a handful of votes. Candidates have different skills, track records and values. Make sure that the candidate that represents your beliefs the most beats the ones that do not.
Voting is the essence of living in a modern free democratic country. It is a right, but more importantly, a duty. It is your chance to influence outcomes, and make sure that the future of your society reflects your wishes. Do not let others make the decision for you. If you choose to abstain from this civic duty, remember that other people close to home are currently fighting for that very right.
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