Wednesday, 30 November 2011

“None of the above”

While we in EnZed were having an election to which only two-thirds of voters showed up, Egypt was having its first election since, well, ever—and everyone showed  up.

imagePeople queued for hours just for the chance to vote--a hard-fought right in this “fledgling democracy,”* and a great sight in a country riven for centuries by dictatorship and worse.

Which led many folk here at home to complain about the million adult New Zealanders who stayed home on election day (many of the complaints amounting to “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about what you get), and to denounce them for taking their right to vote “for granted”—as if not voting was an insult to those who fought and died for the freedom to vote. 

But is it really an insult?

If you have the freedom to vote, then you also have the freedom not to vote. And if nothing on offer is worth getting out of bed for, then a vote for “none of the above” is actually a very rational choice.

So quit complaining about the non-voters. A freely chosen non-vote is still a vote.

* * * * *

* Yes, it is a great sight seeing people able to vote in a country normally suffering under brutal dictatorship. But the prospects for long-term democracy, or for real freedom, look awfully dim when you realise the party still most favoured to win the final vote is the Muslim Brotherhood—the organisation which gave birth to Al Qaeda, and from which so many Al Qaeda operatives are still drawn.


  1. I disagree with you Peter, just like everyone else, you too are trying to claim the non voters in insisting they just didn't have a party they liked.

    I much prefer those that hate the choices, vote "none of the above" by spoiling the ballot.

    That way there can be no misunderstanding. If the voting system was honest it would offer such checkbox.

  2. I really like this article Peter.


  3. I agree.....a non vote is a vote.

  4. THNkx

  5. I agree with you Dinther a proper non vote is showing up on the day and one way or another say that I don't like the choices available and wont vote for any of them and register that vote as no vote. A no show is laziness or apathy and not a true no vote. Bazza

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. When I hear “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about what you get" I always reply that, no, in fact precisely the opposite is true: if you do vote, you can't complain about what you get; only non-voters have a right to complain. Voters, ipso facto, accept the "democratic" system that makes the decisions, so they can't complain about the operation of that process. Only those who reject the process, and therefore don't vote, can complain. (Even if there was a "none of the above" box on the ballot, checking it would imply that you would vote for someone under other circumstances; it's still an acceptance of the idea that a majority should have control of other-people's-property.)


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