How many eligible voters in the last election did not vote? (Lec 17.)

voting

Answer: 1 million people chose not to vote in the general election

As a country we should be ashamed of ourselves and the worst thing is, it seems to be our youngest voters that are the worst offenders. Why don’t these 1 million people, not want to vote?
Maybe they are just lazy, stupid or both. Or could it be they may get lost on the way to the ballot box, and not find their way back home. For whatever reason it’s a national disgrace.
Maybe the time has come to give these 1 million an incentive to vote every three years, if you don’t vote, that’s okay, but you have to pay a $10,000 fine; I wonder how many of those 1 million next election wouldn’t vote?.
There are millions of people around the world that would love the opportunity that we have of free elections. At the moment Iraq is voting in their general elections

“There were mortar and other attacks on polling stations across the north and west of the country, in which at least 14 people were killed. Among the killed were two members of the electoral commission” (Spencer 2014).

Iraq people are voting in a culture of violence, and they are voting in record numbers just to have their say on the next government. When we go to the polling both do we have to put up with bombs going off, or people shooting at us?
Has voting turned into an intellectual or rich phenomenon?

Why do I say that?

Labour is generally a Political party for the workers and the poor, their usual voting block is to the left. Labour’s voting block has been seriously eroded by ‘missing voters’ to the point that it is now costing them elections, the people who are not voting are generally their voters.
This is why at election times National doesn’t want a big turnout at the polls, because they know that if there is, this means the poor have got off their bums to vote, and they (National) are out of office.

“Changes in law enforcement, welfare police and a general drying-up of social services and public assistance, argue Soss and Jacobs, have sent a message that government doesn’t really empathize with the plight of poor people — so why should poor people care about government or even bother to vote?” (Drutman 2009).

That quote really says it all, the poor in New Zealand have been treated worse than second class citizens since the reforms of the 1980s. Successive Governments have blamed the poor for being a burden on society, and portrayed them as the reason why the rest of New Zealand is not living in a land of milk and honey. This has singled them out as a group in society. Isn’t that what Hitler did in Germany to the Jews? No wonder the poor don’t want to vote they are sending their own message to the government the only way they can, through their lack of participation in elections, they are giving the political system the proverbial middle finger.

But this is still no excuse for not voting. New Zealanders all have the right to vote, whether they are male or female, black or white, rich or poor. People seem to forget that this hasn’t always been the case,
Voting in New Zealand first started around 1853 and it is repeated every 3 years. When voting first started it was a white male domain, you had to own land to be eligible to vote, which left Maori, and woman out in the cold.

“Woman won the right to vote on the same basis as men in 1893-a world first at a national level-and in 1919 they won the right to be elected to parliament” (McRobie 2003, 176).

Maori were not as lucky as woman who received the vote in 1893, Maori had to wait a considerably longer time to vote in the general seats. For me this part of New Zealand’s political history is an extremely racist and upsetting one, because my Maori ancestors were unable to vote in New Zealand’s elections.

They eventually gained a Maori Member of Parliament who represented the whole of the south island, and let’s face it, the New Zealand government of the time treated the four Maori seats as a bit of a joke, they saw them as dumb savages.
People seem to forget that not all people around the world are free to vote like we are here in New Zealand. Many New Zealanders had to fight to receive the right to vote; people today who don’t vote in elections are disrespecting the memory of those New Zealanders as well as letting themselves down.

Maybe the time has come in New Zealand to make voting no longer optional, because the whole political system is starting to feel the weight of these missing voters.
What happens if there were 2 million people who didn’t vote this election, then next election 3 million? When do you say enough is enough?, this sort of apathy can undermine democracy.
If we have so many people not voting, it lets governments into power that may not have got into power had they voted. Had the ‘missing million’ voted last election, would we now have a John Key government with a ‘mandate from the people’, to restart the old neoliberal reforms of the dark ages which involves selling state assets?

“Labour is also counting on winning back some of the so-called missing million voters who chose not to vote in 2011” (Edwards 2014).

Like my parents always said to me “if you don’t vote then you can’t complain about what the government does to the country”.

 

Bibliography

Drutman, Lee. 2009. How the poorest Americans have drooped out of politics. May 21th. Accessed May 3th, 2014. http://www.psmag.com/navigation/politics-and-law/poorest-americans-dropped-politics-3691/.

Edwards, Bryce. 2014. Bryce Edwards: Can Labour still win? April 7th. Accessed May 4th, 2014. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11233782.

McRobie, Alan. 2003. “Elections and the Electoral System.” In New Zealand Government and Politics Third Edition, by Raymond Miller, 176. Melbourne Australia: Oxford University Press.

Spencer, Richard. 2014. Iraq election: violence overshadows first election since US withdrew. April 30th. Accessed May 2th, 2014. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10799255/Iraq-election-violence-overshadows-first-election-since-US-withdrew.html.

 

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