Monday, July 22, 2024
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It’s a simple choice, isn’t it?

I don’t suppose many of you were champing at the bit to get along to your nearest ballot booth and cast an early vote.

There is plenty of time [well, 10 days, including today] to complete that particular job, especially for those who have far more important things to do in their life.

For many of us, the task is more about finding a sufficient amount of time to cast a vote, because the decision, or decisions, have well and truly been made and, barring a gigantic political scandal, nothing is going to change one’s mind. We shouldn’t rule out a scandal of course, but don’t miss the opportunity to exercise your democratic right in the hope that there might be one.

It might not seem like much, but 10-15 minutes on a working day can be elusive at the best of times. It is not, however, an excuse.

At the other end of the decision-making spectrum sits a small but potentially influential group known as the undecided voters. For them, 10 days will feel like nowhere near enough time to come to a firm conclusion.

Because this group measures anywhere between 5-15 per cent of eligible voters, their decisions have the capacity to sway the election outcome. In fact, many elections require a much smaller percentage of undecided voters to change a government. A tiny shift from one side of the centre to the other is all it takes in a tight contest.

Our MMP electoral system is probably making things worse for those who can’t make their mind up. One vote is bad enough … but two votes? The very thought of splitting one’s vote in a cunning strategy to help secure an electorate seat and a coalition partner at the same time keeps some people awake at night. In the 2023 version, I have heard increasingly more discussions about voting in such a way so as to keep a specific party out, rather than get a particular party in. I won’t mention names.

On the subject of neighbourhood chats, some voters are struggling to find enough enthusiasm to actually make a choice, based on the poor calibre of options they see before them.

This group could be called the ‘unimpressed’ voter, a subsection of the undecided voters. They feel like the only genuine selection method open to them is the process of elimination and only after ruling out x number of candidates and x number of parties will they have two boxes left to tick.

The cold reality is that, despite the seemingly impossible or unwanted assignment in front of you, there is quite a lot at stake in this election and, however hopeless it may feel, voting is, arguably, the single most powerful thing you can do. We are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis that shows no sign of abating soon and constant climate change that delivers one damaging blow after another in our own backyard.

Perhaps look at it this way … if you don’t cast a vote, you forfeit your right to moan, complain, whinge, whine, gripe, grumble, denounce and disagree with whatever comes out of the Beehive in the next three years. And you wouldn’t want to give up all that fun, would you?

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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