Mandatory Voting: The Last Resort of a Delegitimized Political Class
Over the past days, we have heard increasing talk about the introduction of mandatory voting in Bulgaria.
The argument that this will minimize the effect of manipulated votes is valid, but also worrying. Especially when it comes from politicians, who basically admit that vote-buying is a serious factor, but instead of fighting it with the rule of law, they want to force citizens to go out on election day. I can't help but think of the infamous Danish clip "Voteman", which appeared ahead of the European elections.
True, a representative and legitimate democratic government requires the maximum possible share of the population to cast a ballot. But it is also the fundamental right of each person in a democratic state to refrain from voting.
When only one-third of the population votes, it is a message to the politicians that society has lost trust in them. And trust is not regained by coercively marching people to the polls. This only brings back painful memories of a time when everything was orchestrated from above.
Trust is rebuilt through reforms, constructive dialogue, fighting corruption, and stimulating progress. The rest would be masking one's political incompetency behind the veil of a 100% turnout.
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