Monthly Proposal No.7: let voting be a democratic duty by law

The decreasing participation of citizens in political elections is alarming. One of the key questions is, whether this fact is just a symptom of the ongoing democratic crisis or partly even a cause.

Of course, people are disappointed because of all half-hearted compromises, the deadlock and the sluggish development in important issues. They may feel that either their vote does not make a difference or once elected politicians cannot make a difference. To this effect, many non-voters call their boycott a protest against a corrupt system of powerless institutions. But how could resignation be a protest?  How would passing the choice generate a preferable outcome than choosing the least evil? How should the government know, whether non-voters are discontent about the possible choices or whether they are just indifferent?

It could simply ask for it. Let voting be a democratic duty by law and simultaneously add at least two more voting options to the ballot: First, give citizens the possibility to vote against all electable parties, if they do not feel sufficiently represented by them. Secondly, one should be able to confess that he or she is just too uninformed or disinterested to vote for an actual party.

Maybe there should be even more additional options and maybe the percentage voting for these options should have a direct institutional effect. However, for now it would already be an important measure to be paternalistic and force people to claim their democratic right to vote – because it is their democratic duty as well!

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