I did my civic duty today, voting in the Victorian State Election. It’s always nice to get in an do the business – exercising my civic responsibilities. I was fortunate in the last few days to meet most of the candidates in my electorate – pretty cool when you’re out and about for lunch. With the preferential voting system we have, it means that not only does the person you give your primary vote to is important, but so is the two or three of their top preferences. I made sure to get around and talk to a few of them to find out what the go was.
I’m not really invested enough in the party system to have firm views on which party is better – definitely a swing voter, definitely interested in outcomes and previous track record. That being said, I’ll give someone new a crack at it if I think they’ve got the right stuff. More importantly, being involved in the democratic process is the important thing – even a donkey vote (or an incorrect vote) still sends a message – it might be that none of the candidates are any good, and you want them to know about that. The Australian Electoral Commission does pay attention to those votes and the commentators analysing it are certainly paying attention.
It’s also my opinion that mandatory voting is the way to go. We all have a responsibility to our friends, family and community to be involved and care in some way and if the stick is a fine and that gets people to spend 15 minutes voting then I think that’s OK. I don’t care who you vote for – I respect your right to choose. But I do think you have to do it. You have to vote. This is where I think the US gets it wrong. Giving people the choice to vote or not makes it all harder. If you’re eligible to vote then do it. Get that political power out and get it going! And if you don’t vote – then keep your political opinions to yourself. You don’t get to comment because it’s not a process you’re involved in.
Good luck to us all and to the candidates – let’s hope we get the best possible people into power – whoever they may be!