I asked my seven-year-old to document the election while I voted, and she selected these photos for the weblog. School was out today because they use the school for the election, and when we went shopping after voting green sheets covered the beer: “Alcohol may not be sold on election day.” I forget that every year. (Update, evening: The results are updated online as votes are counted. Only 57% of the population voted, only 53% in my suburb, though 60% in Bergen as a whole. How can people be so stupid as to not vote?)
16 thoughts on “election”
Karl Ove Hufthammer
Even though it’s not legal to sell alcohol on election day, this year (and only this year) it’s legal to vote if you’re drunk, cf. http://www.bladet-tromso.a.nns.no/-/16?sak=1028914 (in Norwegian).
I refuse to vote as long as the system prevents me from bying beer on the election day, why should I? …unless one of the parties starts giving me beer on this particular day, then I’ll vote for them (as long as it isn’t FRP).
I want to give an apology for the non-voter.
1, First of all, it’s not a duty to vote. It’s a right. Which means that one is also allowed to decide _not_ to vote. If not, we’re not living in a democracy. In Iraq 99 % participated in the election. And 99 % voted for Saddam Hussein… My point being that the numbers of voters is not proportional to the degree of democracy. That people actually are allowed not to vote show that we do live in a democracy. this does not mean that non-voters don’t appreciate their right to vote. But they also appreciate their right to decide not to vote.
2, What influence does really one vote give a person? Not much. There are thousands of other ways in which to influence the development of society in a much more direct manner. For instance to participate in organizations, write books, partaking in public debates in various areas (radio, tv, newspapers. And of course it helps being rich or famous… There are many rich people and celebrities in Norway who influence society at least as much as politicians.
3, Why vote if there are absolutely no politicans or parties that in the non-voters eyes are trustable? Why is it better to cast a more or less random vote than to make a firm decision not to vote for anyone? There are also many minor problematic aspects concerning the current election system. In the last governmental election for instance Venstre (I don’t know the English equivalent) had about 3 or 4 % of the votes. Still they ended up in governmental position together with The Conservative Party and The Christian Folk Party (or something like that)! And before the election Venstre had told the voters that they should form a coalition with the Senterpartiet and the Christian Party, not with the Conservative Party! A teeny weenie minority had voted for Venstre. And _none_ had voted for their forming a coalition with the Conservatives. Where’s the democracy here?
4, Voting is a political correct thing to do. For instance, when non-voters (as yours truly) are being told that they ought to vote, they are also told _what_ parties _not_ to vote: “Don’t vote the Progress Party!” Why not, if it’s a free choice? Maybe next time I will vote for anti-immigrant and nazi parties just for the spite of it, to show all those fanatical political correct voters that voting is not necessarily to do “something good for democracy”. The most ridiculous argument against not voting is that non-voters may not complain after the election. What utter nonsense! Of course _everyone_ are allowed to complain about anything all the time! (Most people do!) That’s also part of being a democratic society. Does one have to be a muslem to criticise islam, or a Christian to criticise Christianity? Does one have to be a footballer oneself in order to criticise football? Of course not. It’s a very undemocratic thing to do to want to rid people of their right to complain (read: utter their meanings about anything.
If you, at the bottom of your heart, can claim that you donít care at all regarding to what party get to the power in your Kommune, then I respect you. Can you?
Nobody’s denying anyone the _right_ to complain. Complain as much as you like. But we voters have rights as well – among them the right to ignore complaints from people who don’t even bother to do the simplest thing you can do to change things in our society, which is to vote. As for the untrustworthiness of political parties, many of us voted for parties which have not yet had the power to put their policies into practice. Thus noone can say whether they will keep their promises or not.
Yes, Voter, I don’t care who get to the power. (Besides, you haven’t commented on my argument about last governmental election. All those people who voted for Venstre not to be in government, were ignored. The voters only do have a secondary influence on who “get to the power”.
Eirik, you missed my point. Not voting does not necessarily mean that one doesn’t “bother to do the simplest thing you can do to change things in our society.” As I said, there are a lot of other ways to influence society and politicians than by one single vote which drowns among all the other votes. And it’s also to underestimate non-voters to think that they may not have reflected at all on why they don’t vote. Actually, I think there are many people who vote who don’t really think through why they vote. They just do it because they are told that “that’s the best thing to do”.
And please tell me how voting for a party that even their voters know for certain don’t “get to the power” is to do something to “change society”?
And you obviously missed my points, so there we are. The mere act of voting, even if it doesn’t result in an immediate change in the power structure, can have an prpfound effect by sending a message. The growth of the Progress Party had other politicians running scared long before the party actually started gaining power. For people who don’t write books, aren’t celebritites or wealthy people, and do not have the time or inclination to participate in other ways, casting a vote is at least a way of sending a message. Oh, BTW, normally I don’t debate with anonymous people on the Net. I am now invoking my principle. 🙂
I still think you’re underestimating non-voters. Since they are so many, it’s highly probable that there are many among them who actually contribute to shaping society in other ways than by voting. And “sending messages” can also be done in many other ways than by voting. But I agree, if a person does not do _anything_ to contribute to the shaping of society, then they should at least vote. But I don’t think there are many people who doesn’t do _anything_, whether it’s on a very big or a very small scale, which can “send messages” about how they want society to be.
So, non-voter, do you actually think that not voting helps society? Or is it just that you don’t think the change your vote can effect is worth the ten minutes of your time it would consume?
Well, I have a suspicion that many think that if I voted a nazi party it would have been better if I didn’t vote… A vote isn’t necessarily a help for society. And you’ve missed my point. It’s not about time. Among many things, it’s about not being able to support any particular parties or politicians. I think rather than voting for a party purely for selfish reasons (I want cheaper liquor!!!) or making a more or less random vote without having any certain thought behind it, it’s better to have thought things thoroughly through and decide to try to make an impact in other ways. And more philosophically,there is no reason for non-voters to justify their choice. It’s part of living in a democracy that one has the _right_, not the duty nor the obligation, to vote. As I said, the fact that it is possible not to vote without being killed or imprisoned, is a sign that democracy actually functions.
By the way, if things change, if a political party someday gets a programme that I can agree to with more than just a couple of things they want to do, with a more fundamental and coherent way of thinking in their program, and if the political system one day changes to the better, I will vote! I am not against voting on principle. But for the time being I think I may affect things much more effective in other ways without swallowing huge camels, which I would have to do if I were to vote today for a party that I really didn’t support, and for politicians I really don’t respect. I love my right to vote, which includes the right not to vote. I can’t see why that’s so difficult to accept.
Actually, several democracies see voting as a duty and not just as a right. In Australia they fine you if you don’t vote. However, you are permitted to cast a blank vote, which is often seen as a political statement.
Perhaps next time you might want to consider voting for individuals rather than a party. You can dilute your party vote (for the city council) by writing up names of individuals from any party, and I think you can cross out people on the party list as well. You may – or may not – find it easier to find individuals you agree with than whole parties.
40% of the population obviously agree with you that voting’s not important, so you probably don’t need to worry about trying to convince those of us who think that voting is important.
Voting for individuals rather than parties is also not decisive for my _free_ choice. and the difference between casting a blank vote and not participating has no practical consequence. Actually, not voting is as much a political choice since it may not only be a statement about the parties but about the system. I am not trying to convince anybody else about what they do when it comes to voting. I see it as their free choice in which I won’t meddle. I am just trying to protest against the common opinion that one has to be _stupid_ if one doesn’t vote.
Let’s see what I can remember about who to vote for:
Nobody is telling the truth.
Nobody is working for you.
Nobody is lowering your taxes.
Nobody is doing a good job in gov’t.
Nobody is better.
Vote for nobody.
Question: When the nazis say the commies are terrible, and the commies say the nazis are terrible, and both are being truthful about THAT, who do you vote for?
“Right to Vote”
While Iím all for trying to engage/empower young people into a life of more political awareness, I have not quite finalised any thoughts as to whether letting 16 year olds vote is the way to realise this . I have