'I really don't see why it is rational to choose not to vote'

Show host Eusebius McKaiser urges South Africans to register to vote for the upcoming elections and says those who have not checked their registration status, need to do so this weekend.

The argument for me is breathtakingly simple. You can't just vote in elections where the choices are ideal because of the legal consequence of elections is that a government will be in place at some point in May or June this year and they will have enormous legal power over you, even if you didn't vote.

Eusebius McKaiser, presenter

He emphasizes that not voting as a form of protest or expressing cynicism, does not mean you'll be exempt from the consequences of an election.

The fact that you may protest by not voting doesn't mean that you are going to escape the monopoly of power that a government has over citizens in virtue of the legal consequences of a new government being formed.

Eusebius McKaiser, presenter

There is nothing in the rule book that says if there is a low voter turnout that the government doesn't have legal power. Whether the voter turnout is 80% or 20% of voters, the government that is formed on the basis of the majority of votes won after the election will have enormous power over you.

Eusebius McKaiser, presenter

READ: IEC tips on how to check if you are on the voter's roll

I really don't see why it is rational to choose not to vote, it simply doesn't make sense to me. If there isn't an ideal choice for you to vote for, then the next best thing is to simply change your framing question. To ask yourself who is going to do the least damage to the foundation of our society?

Eusebius McKaiser, presenter

And vote for that party, that is far more practically rational than not voting at all. Because not voting may send a signal that you are disillusioned but sending that signal is not going to change that behaviour of politicians who are unresponsive to your needs.

Eusebius McKaiser, presenter

The only circumstance in which not voting and a low voter turnout make a difference is in a society where politicians feel sufficiently shamed to say we will change our behaviour now that there is a 15% voter turnout. But we know that politicians are politicians and they don't give a damn that voter turnout is low.

Eusebius McKaiser, presenter

He adds that even if listeners don't agree with him that it is better to vote than to not vote, what do they have to lose by registering to vote?

Because remember if you don't register, you don't have the option of voting. If you register you still have the option of not voting, so why not keep your options open.

Eusebius McKaiser, presenter

Listen below to the full open line:


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