Not voting in an election is the most apathetic thing you can do. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the state of things. There’s something worse than not voting, though. It’s this new concept of protesting the choices offered by voting for no-one and then trying to have that ballot counted. It’s called nullifying the vote. I have a friend who religiously goes to the polling booth and ‘nullifies’ his vote as a mark of protest. Usually by stamping the ballot a number of times. He’s a moron.
Nullifying your vote does absolutely nothing. Even if nullified votes were counted to give a sort of ‘protest meter,’ what difference does that make to the election? None. Put it this way: Let’s say that there are two major parties that are both unfit for office, but one is slightly ‘better’ than the other. Maybe this party hasn’t demolished mosques or started riots, or something. I don’t know, it’s slightly better, but not by much. Let’s assume that you don’t want to vote either, because neither of them work. They’re both staffed by corrupt politicians, they both have scandals. Definitely the wrong sort for high public office.
You might think that this is a clear case for nullifying your vote. You can’t in good conscience vote either of these jokers in, after all. That’s where you’re wrong. All parties rely on vote banks. A vote bank is an assured number of votes. Put it in percentages: let’s say that Party A and Party B both have roughly the same size of vote banks. For the sake of argument, let’s say that they both have around 30% of the votes each. That means the undecided – and this is true, more often than not – makes up just 40%. Now if, out of those 40%, half the voters decide to nullify their votes, or just not vote at all. What does it mean? It means that the rest of the people who vote, no matter how they vote, will have more power for their votes. It means that parties therefore have to do less convincing (because they just have to convince a few people) to vote for them in order to win. In fact, what it means is that viote banks are becoming far more important. A few percent differences in the size of a vote bank means the difference between winning and losing an election.
Why are you still surprised that politicians take care of special interest groups like slum dwellers and trade unions and taxi unions over ‘common’ people? Because they represent a vote bank. They’re organised and will use their votes to put people in power who do the things they want. You on the other hand, have been religiously throwing away the only power a democracy gives you. In order to address the concerns of people who believe that they can’t vote someone bad into office with a good conscience, here’s a nice out: If you believe that no-one deserves your vote, vote to keep the worst person OUT of office. If Party A and Party B are both bad, but Party B is slightly worse, vote Party A! At least the vote has gone towards something constructive!