I’m not a believer in compulsory voting.
However, personally I feel that neglecting to vote is an insult to the struggle and suffering of the many who have fought for universal suffrage over the years. They did, of course, also further our right to choose NOT to vote and not voting as a conscious decision is just as important for some.
In last year’s local election, I neglected to vote. I was busy / tired / tied up etc. Or lazy / complacent / ignorant if you prefer!
When I collected the kidlets from primary school, the secondary school on the same campus was serving as a polling station. I’d been somewhere in the car and was a bit early, so sat in the car park waiting. As I sat there, an elderly lady came out of the part of the building where the polls were being conducted. I saw her, then carried on messing with my mobile phone: tweeting or somesuch nonesense! Five minutes later, I looked up and this lady had advanced no further than 15 metres or so towards me, her mobility was so much of an effort. (*NB. All distances are estimated and I’m rubbish at estimating distance! Just take it as read that she was very, very slow!) I went to her and asked if she was okay or would she like any help? She was trying to the exit the car park: 30 metres up a steep slope across the busy entrance. She said she was all right but it would be nice if I would lend her an arm. It took us 15 minutes to walk that 30 metres. I was beginning to think I was going to be late collecting my kidlets. Her next pitstop was the supermarket 200 metres away! She wouldn’t let me help her any further and insisted on slowly, independently making her way off to do her shopping.
Whilst walking with this lovely lady, we chatted. She was proud to have used her vote. She would have done anything to make sure it wasn’t wasted. She felt it was the single most important thing she had done for months.
So, in future, in respect for this anonymous stranger & the thousands of other people, both reknowned & unknown, who have struggled for my right to vote in democratic elections, I will never neglect to use my vote again.