Dirk Lotriet
2 minute read
22 Mar 2019
9:30 am

Let’s go on election day and make a cross – or not

Dirk Lotriet

Withholding your vote is as much a democratic tool as supporting the party of your choice is. Hell, even a spoilt vote is a way to express your beliefs!

Image: iStock

My boss told me his grown-up children are shocked by people who won’t vote in the national elections in six weeks time.

“They say the vote is precious. A lot of people died to secure that right for all South Africans and we all have the responsibility to vote for the party of our choice on May 8,” he said.

His words got me thinking, because I have no idea who to vote for. And, to be honest, I have played with the idea of not voting at all.

I’m sure I am not the only one. An expert who talked on the radio one morning when I was on my way to work, predicted a voter turnout of 70%. Although that is certainly not low, it still means those who will abstain from voting for whatever reason, is still considerably more than those who will vote for the DA or the EFF, according to the polls.

And I dare to predict that a huge percentage of those who will not go to the ballot are unable to trust any of the long list of registered parties with the responsibility to represent them in parliament or in the provincial legislature.

People have lost their confidence in parties and, to be frank, I don’t believe they trivialise the importance of their vote.

As a matter of fact, I don’t believe voting for a party in which you don’t believe is democratic at all.

Withholding your vote is as much a democratic tool as supporting the party of your choice is. Hell, even a spoilt vote is a way to express your beliefs!

And forget the nonsense that you sacrifice your right to complain if you don’t vote. We all exercise that right to exhaustion, particularly with load shedding.

There’s nothing wrong with supporting one of the smaller parties.

We have all heard that a vote for a small party is wasted. With our system of proportional representation, that claim is total nonsense.

A voter who supports a smaller party is as much part of the democratic process as any of the ANC or DA’s voters.

Will I vote for a smaller party in six weeks’ time? Quite possibly. A bigger one? Most likely. But I’m not yet convinced I will vote at all.

One thing is certain: I support the elections and will be part of it. Whether I draw my cross or not.

Dirk Lotriet. Picture: Alaister Russell

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