As the largest democracy in the world, the principle ‘Government of the people, by the people and for the people’ holds true as the foundation of our political system. True democracy is when all the citizens of the country & the entire nation come together as one to participate in elections thereby deciding the future and fate of the country as well as their own. The right to vote is a constitutional right that can be exercised by any citizen above the age of 18. It allows the citizens of the country to use their power & franchise to decide collectively with majority votes who they think is the best suited, responsible candidate to hold the position and responsibility of being a leader.
However, over the years there has been a disconnect among voters, specifically youth, and the electoral process and politics. Many voters, especially young citizens tend to take their rights for granted and do not understand the gravity of the power of choice they have when they cast their votes. They are unaware of the long-term consequences of not voting and do not take it seriously. Since it is not compulsory or mandatory to vote, many take it lightly and decide to skip voting and enjoy the holiday instead.
For instance, the highest ever recorded voter turnout was during the 2014 elections but it was only a mere 66% turnout which is really low considering how large our population is and how many eligible voters are present but inactive. While 100% turnout would be best in an ideal world, there are many factors as to why we struggle to achieve a mark close to it. Some of them will be discussed in detail below:
1. Your vote makes a difference
While it may sometimes feel like your vote doesn't matter, one should keep in mind that every vote will make a difference, especially in local and state elections. Even though the focus is on big numbers presented on the news, the small number of votes ultimately make a difference in the result of the elections
2. The winner of the elections will represent you and your country
Voting for your preferred candidate is not supposed to be an endorsement but rather an important decision to make for yourself and the country. Although it is rare to agree with a candidate on every single issue, it is important to make sure they are educated, qualified and truly care about the well being of the country. When you choose not to vote, you are in a way letting others decide who gets to be leaders and make & enforce laws as your representative and political leader. It’s important to choose leaders who keep the best interests of the country in mind and it is the responsibility of the citizens to be politically informed while making the decision to vote.
3. Elections affect your life everyday
Politics is an indispensable part of our lives and it affects every single aspect of daily life. From the roads we drive on, to the food we eat, the schools that teach our children and more are all a function of government.One may not realize it, but our lives are affected by decisions taken by the government, laws, and elected representatives. These elected leaders make decisions that greatly impact the country therefore we need to make the right decision to vote and choose suitable leaders that answer to us and not the other way around.
4. Voting instills a sense of pride
The right to vote is associated with a sense of pride especially with young voters or first time voters. It is seen as such in the latest trends to showcase the fulfillment of their responsibility by sharing the picture of their inked finger on various social media platforms. It is also the noblest way of honouring our forefathers who have made innumerable sacrifices and strived extremely hard to attain freedom for our nation. The Election Commission of India (ECI) also has started various initiatives to promote voter awareness and inculcate the need and importance of voting among the citizens across the country. The results of such initiatives are seen in the increasing voter turnout over the years.
5. People fought for the right to vote for a reason
While not everyone can create revolutions, voting is one of the few chances to directly impact and help the country. Leaders and citizens in the past have fought for independence and basic rights and it is our duty to take advantage and exercise these rights for the benefit of the country.
While we tend to criticize political parties, governments and leaders for the sake of our country, when it’s time to vote many people back out. Many voters do not even register to vote or enroll themselves in the voting list but are quick to blame the government for their condition which could have been changed if they just voted. Voting and being involved in the electoral process is more than a right or rather it is a great responsibility that each citizen holds to elect their leaders.
Youth of our nation ought to lead this movement at the forefront as we are the leaders of tomorrow. We ought to realize the importance of the voting process as well as the importance of each vote in determining the future of the nation.