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On Not Giving a Vote

June 1, 2014
Indonesian Law states that you have a right to give a vote, but you do not have the right to be abstain. 

The law means your voice does not count when you choose to not vote for one of the available choices. I have always thought that not giving a vote is a choice, so I was left speechless when I realized what this law means.
To make it clear, let me give you an example. In 2009 election, 39.1% of Indonesian people did not vote (the votes were considered illegitimate due to several reasons) – this number is much higher than the number of votes obtained by the winning party, 20.85%. Those 39.1% were left as a mere fact.
The high number of illegitimate votes might be caused by uninformed voter living in rural areas, but what concerned me is the number - it could represent a statement. A statement from Indonesians who don’t want to be governed by those faces on the election paper. A statement from Indonesians who want better people to come up and fill the government. A statement from Indonesians who think status quo is not good enough. Those statements are lost in the air because of the law.
Keeping ideal thinking aside, this rule might be set to prevent waste of resources by doing election over and over again, since conducting an election costs money, above all. Yet, I still think we should come up with a system that accommodates all of the “votes” to make it more fair and square.
Now, I have to accept that I “need to” choose and think of who should get the honor of accepting my vote in the coming election.
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