Reframing Voter Apathy: People need something to vote for with their ‘fair votes’
29 August 2010 Leave a comment
For me, no matter how small my vote may count to the end result, I still want my vote to count and I still want to make a difference to the country that I live in. The issue for me is that it just feels so difficult to make a difference and voting can seem like little consolation to the pain that I had to go through from the effect of ridiculous reforms and new legislation. So when my workload increased in paperwork, new complex and unnecessary computer systems, and a failure of some government organizations to do what I have felt was necessary, many of my colleagues didn’t feel like voting as they didn’t see anything changing.
I would suggest that these terms are not helpful and need to be reframed: People are not apathetic, they are interested in politics, and they do want to make a difference, they just don’t see how this is connected to voting yet. This may be understandable when there is little difference in the parties who position themselves for the same votes.
Giving people more say and more power does not necessarily mean that people will then see the need to vote, unless this say and power is meaningful to them and there is a threat that it will be taken away from them. So the question is how do you make having a say and power meaningful to people?
Equal votes and equal constituencies makes logical sense to anyone interested in fairness. But will it mean that people will feel they have more say and more power? I doubt this will change my colleagues’ minds when they continue to struggle with burdensome bureaucracies which feel like they hinder them in doing their job. So something needs to go along with fair votes. Something which will make people feel fair votes is worth something to them.
So there needs to be a change in the way we look at government to complement fair votes which will make people want a fair vote and then more likely to vote. I believe this is change in the bureaucratic system to allow for a collaboration between government and its bodies and the people, see here, here or here.
Governments need to stimulate the environment to allow for (and generate) spontaneous behaviour by individuals and groups. Programs of involvement and collaboration need to be governed by citizens and administered by practitioners who understand them. Public-service practitioners can become citizens’ honest advisors and helpers rather than controllers of public organizations (see here).
Like all movements to achieve social change, power is placed back where it belongs; this is empowerment. The Liberal Democrats have long advocated for empowerment, but so have other parties. It is time to imagine a different world where the government has a different role with its citizens. It is time to imagine this in specifics. It is time to communicate this difference.