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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Your vote is your right – exercise it

Since the first national elections in 1994, there has been a steady decline in voter turnout. In 1994, the voter turnout was 86.87%.


Cambodia last week approved a law banning anyone who fails to vote in their upcoming national polls from running for office for the next four elections.

We certainly don’t want to model anything on a country that is not seen as free or fair, but fresh ideas and conditions need to be considered if we want people to turn up to the ballot box in numbers.

In Cambodia there’s obviously good and bad in this. The bad? Well, it’s clear the current regime are implementing this to crush any opposition. But if done properly, there can be good.

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In an ideal world, it forces voters, particularly the youth, to turn out to cast their vote. When you reach voting age, you certainly don’t know if you will pursue a job in politics later.

You might not feel like voting right now because it’s not the “cool thing” to do as an 18-year-old but in two elections down the line, when you have a family, you might think differently. It also instils the notion of why it is so important to vote from a young age.

What does a country that’s almost 10 000km away from South Africa have to do with us, you may ask?

Well, our low voter turnout in past elections is a cause for concern.

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Since the first national elections in 1994, there has been a steady decline in voter turnout. In 1994, the voter turnout was 86.87%. At the last national and provincial elections in 2019, only 66.1% of registered voters made their mark.

At the 2021 local elections that number was a paltry 45.86%. Two year ago, less than 20% of the population aged between 18-35 registered to vote. That’s appalling.

Aggressive and appealing marketing is needed to encourage the nation – not only the youth – to vote next year. We don’t need to stoop to the level of Cambodia to carry out their agenda, but we must come up with innovative ideas to encourage a higher voter turnout.

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Make sure you cast your vote at next year’s elections. If not, you have no right to complain.

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