Voting is a prominent right enshrined in the majority of the constitutions around the world. It is also the responsibility of a citizen to cast their vote, but considering voting as a burden rather than a privilege is a growing problem in modern society.
Last month, Ontario’s provincial election saw the lowest turnout of the eligible voting population. The word democracy, which means “rule of majority,” fails when the majority chooses not to participate in decisions which will impact them in the future. To prevent democracy from failing, voting should be made mandatory.
People give a variety of reasons for not participating in elections. However, regardless of their participation, the bills and motions passed by the elected government will still impact them. The opinion that “my vote doesn’t matter” is flawed. People might choose to alienate themselves from elections, but they can’t alienate themselves from the government.
One example is the Indian government’s “Agnipath scheme” regarding military recruitment. According to the scheme, soldiers will be recruited for a period of four years with only some being retained for longer. Soldiers recruited under this scheme as “Agniveer” won’t be tax exempt and won’t be provided with any government pensions in their retirement. Previously, young people were recruited for an initial tenure of 10 years, with a possible extension of up to 14 years. The goal of introducing the scheme is to cut salary and pension bill costs.
Regardless of who voted for the government, this scheme will affect everyone recruited into the military going forward.
Mandatory voting could make people more aware of their country, leaders, and their respective policies. They decide which campaign promises will be better for them and their nation. The personality and attitude of an elected leader matters too. The decisions made by representatives can build or destroy a nation.
Another example is the voter apathy we saw in the United States in the 2016 election when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the only two options. Many people didn’t vote, Trump got in, and today the U.S. is still facing consequences from that election.
Voting should be mandatory so people cannot ignore the politics that affect them.