It doesn’t matter who you support, or whether you support anyone at all: voting is as much a duty as it is a right.
My grandmother – much like myself, I guess – was a very opinionated woman. She had a formed opinion about everything and everyone, and she always made it a point to share it. That landed her in trouble a few times, but everyone knew where they stood with Mrs Borg.
Of course, she also had an opinion about politics – but that was one thing she rarely shared. Instead, she made it her mission to tell everyone why it was their duty to vote, including to me on the eve of my very first election as a voter.
Here’s what she told me:
“People fought for your right to vote.”
Democracy did not come free and it was not cheap. People spent centuries unable to voice their opinion about who ruled them and what those ruling them could and could not do. Never ever forget that holding that pencil in your hand as you scribble next to your chosen candidates’ names comes with a history. In the past, people would have killed for that right; you got it handed to you on a silver platter. Appreciate that.
“Democracy is a privilege.”
We’re so accustomed to living in a democracy that we often fail to see how different life could have been. Democracy is not a given; it has to be worked on constantly to ensure that everyone – truly – has the same voice; and that that voice is as equally powerful.
“Don’t deny yourself the right to complain.”
My grandmother was never one to beat around the bush, and she disliked anyone who complained about things but who never tried to change them. And who can blame her? Complaining after not voting is the same as going to a restaurant, letting someone else order, and then complain because they got you something you didn’t like.
“Tax money is a national resource.”
You have a right to determine who and how your tax money is spent. By voting for your preferred candidates, you are more likely to see tax money going towards the things you hold dear, be it better roads, better healthcare, more help for the poor, or a bridge to Gozo.
“You have a duty towards your fellow countrymen.”
Voting is not simply a right, it is also a duty. All too often – as we’ve seen with Brexit and Trump – turn outs can make a huge difference in the final results. For Brexit, for example, 72.2% of the electorate went out to vote. Would Brexit have gone through had the other 27.8% actually bothered to vote? That’s a question that we’ll never be able to answer, but the point is that the wishes of the majority don’t always reflect the wishes of the majority of people who vote.
So, come Saturday 3 June, do your duty… It only takes 30 minutes!
Are there are any other reasons why people should go out to vote?
Let us know in the comments section below.