Quest Means Business   « Back to Blog Main
June 4, 2009
Posted: 1955 GMT

I love elections ... all elections. Big ones, small ones, national ones, local ones. It is the simple Majesty of the Process – the People speaking for better or worse. A chance to change. So this morning on my way to work I made sure I stopped off to cast my ballot in the European Elections. Even though the polling booth was deserted – there is nothing quite like getting the ballot paper, reading all the names, putting your cross and casting your vote.

The UK and the Netherlands maybe the first countries to vote, but between now and Sunday all 27 EU countries will cast votes for the European parliament. In past EU parliamentary elections The turnout has been low (in 1999 it was 49.5 % and in 2005 it fell to 45.4%) This doesn’t say much about what people think of the parliament, the parties and the process.

But I say firmly – the numbers as such shouldn’t matter.

Casting a vote is one of the greatest civic duties I can perform. It And whether I love or loathe the insitutions involved …..the day itself – the moment of voting – is a moment to celebrate and relish. In the next few days we have voting in the EU and in Lebanon. The people are speaking!

Voting is easy when the choice is between good and bad, strong versus weak.

It’s those elections when you hate all the candidates that really matter. you have to hold your nose from the stench of disgust as you cast your ballot –The true test of democracy is not the result – it is taking part.

So I can never quite understand those people who say, why bother? Nothing changes. What do you think? Is voting a civic duty or a waste of time? And do you always vote even if you are probably going to be on the losing side?

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Filed under: Profitable Moment •Quest Means Business


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Diana Ngila   June 4th, 2009 8:16 pm ET

Voting is important. I think its a constitutional right that must be exercised.

However, due to the post-election violence experienced in Kenya following the 2007 disputed elections, i must confess am abit skeptical if not fearful to go the polls.

Before the post-poll chaos i didnt really care whether my candidate won or lost, just that i got the opportunity to make my choice and have my voice heard.

Our next general election is in 2012, am not entirely sure i should go to the polls and cast my vote. The first time I did, plunged the country into chaos and didn't seem to make a difference. whether or not i shall exercise my civic duty when called upon to do so remains to be seen.

Hans Muecke   June 4th, 2009 8:17 pm ET

Do I vote? Yes.

Is the voice of the people heard? I doubt it. Once they are elected, they do mind their own business and for us they come up with lower roaming rates or legislation about the shape of a cucumber.

Is the european election being used to punish the national governments? Shure ... because it is not the EP that has the power, it's politicians sent to Brussels by the national govs.

So nothing actually changes, no matter if I bother or not.

But I still vote. I vote for those, with the "funny names" like the "purple" or the "pirates". Simply because it is the only way to say no to what comes over me anyway. It's the only way to nail an egg to the kneecaps of those, who think they are god's greatest gift to Joe Sixpack.

Theresa   June 4th, 2009 8:21 pm ET

Civic duty.

Denny   June 4th, 2009 8:30 pm ET

I vote for video podcast of the show for folks who can't watch it. Myself included.

Michael C. McHugh   June 4th, 2009 10:06 pm ET

In US history, politics is a cycle, and every 30-40 years we have a period of liberal progressive reform like the 1930s, 1960s and today. I am something of a historical determinist in this sense. In America, if one is a liberal or a progressive during a conservative cycle, voting does not matter because the party and the philosophy you favor is not going to win. You might as well stay home. The same is true of conservatives voting in a reform period like this one.

So in that sense, voting doesn't matter at all since everything in politics is determined by these waves of reform and conservatism, and also by capitalist economic cycles. When a cpitalist downturn coincides with a reform period, such as the 1930s or today, then it moves the reforms even further left. This last election was pretty exciting, however, even though I knew Obama was going to win–just as I am about 99% certain he will win in 2012, too.

George   June 4th, 2009 11:28 pm ET

Bring the podcast idea on... I watch the show evreytime I can...

About the "Vote", Here in Mexico we have midterm elections and even though Mexico's Congress voted a law that prohibits anyone to use a public comunications network to bring about their political views or opinions about the candidates, we know that our vote is counted and usefull... I believe that Mexico, even with the war against drugs on our side of the fence, is becoming a true democracy, a young democracy for the moment, but, coming of age...

Tracy Posey   June 5th, 2009 12:29 am ET

I vote when it is important. No one can blame me for putting Bush in office for 8 years, I voted against him and will never vote for another Bush. I did vote for Obama and feel like I am part of making history. I usually vote democratic party but look at the individual and his plans. I voted for Charlie Crist and when he first started as governor of Florida was making a difference but I guess the Republican in him kicked in and now education money is being cut and the cost of living in Florida or going to college here is all going up.
If you do not vote you have no right to complain when things go wrong. Now if you have voted you have all the right in the world to complain because that person is committed to be representing the people that put him in office.

Vote and be allowed to complain or Shut up!!!
Tracy Posey
Belle Glade, Fl.

Craig Eyles   June 5th, 2009 1:51 am ET

I like kicking back & watching the televised national results night.
As for voting, well, (shhh) I'm not on the roll as I've "died" four times since being enrolled. Cats have 9 lives, time lords have 13 so I wonder what I have??
Can't take the chance of my name vanishing again.

Gerard Roberts   June 5th, 2009 4:21 am ET

Richard Quest, I don't see your show all the time. But I think you are the best in the business.
I was on the BBC News Web site they were talking to a lady who's husband was on the Air France flight . She said she tried calling his cell phone and it rung. Have any of the Authorities tried calling the cell phones of the passagers on the plane to see if they rings. And if so, can they use GPS to track where the signal is coming from?
Maybe the plane may of crash on a island some where.

Nancy Needhima   June 5th, 2009 4:48 am ET

Personally I love to vote. It is my constitutional right and responsibility. Every other activity towards the benefit of my country could be out of benevolence but not voting. Voting legitimizes my opinion and criticism of the government. If I don't feel obliged to vote then why should the government feel obliged to serve me. It's very irresponsible to say "Voting is a waste of time". It is just as bad as saying, "I don't care who or what walks into my home". Voting explicitly asserts our commitment to democracy.

Fabio Rodrigues   June 5th, 2009 9:33 am ET

It's all about the perceived liberties that the people have. I'm a Portuguese guy, and although i was born post 1974, my parents told me that the turnout in the first elections was hi, because it's a new thing for the majority of the population, and because it was an right that was negated and then restored. The same thing happened in Timor.

Shrinath Sundaram - twitter.com/javashri   June 5th, 2009 9:45 am ET

Democracy is a participatory form of governance. When the citizen chooses not to, does not it not reflect apathy? The entire premise of a democracy crumbles when one does not participate. It is more than winning or losing. It is as much a fundamental right as choosing what car to own or what to eat.

Put perhaps, I, as an Indian have the option of exercising my right by not voting for none. A form, # 49O, does the trick. When the counting ends, if #49O has the maximum number of votes, then a re-election is called for. Of course, that has never happened. Hence, I do participate and also register my protest.

The EU scheme of politics is well out of my ambit and I cannot add any value judgment, but I do sympathize when there is no other choice.

p.s. : Is it really so bad?

Vivian Wildeboer   June 5th, 2009 7:16 pm ET

I voted for the first time yesterday, and I loved it. It made me feel kinda important. But I also think the EU is important, but hey, I am studying European Studies, so if anybody should think it important I should.
I have been trying, together with classmates and the municipality of The Hague, to get people more aware of the EP elections and why it's important, but not many people seem to care.
I hope that changes in the near future, because in Europe, we all will need eachother.

Rikki, ND (USA)   June 5th, 2009 10:36 pm ET

I do think that voting is a civic duty. I have voted in every single election that has taken place since I turned 18. Whether it was for the President or the local school board. I think that exercising your right to vote is one of the most important things you can do as a citizen. It always makes me so angry when my family and friends say they don't vote because it doesn't matter. I believe it does matter. Everyone's opinions matter whether they are on the winning side or the losing side. One of my favorite lines is 'If you don't vote you can't complain afterwards' ...If you didn't go out and try to change the outcome then you don't get to complain about the way it ended up...And Richard, I'm with you, I love the joy of voting...for me it may sound a bit strange but its a bit of an adrenaline rush for me! I love it!

Lars Rikard   June 6th, 2009 10:28 am ET

Dear Questman,
All this talk about "green shouts" are rubbish. We should be talking about if we have fertile ground for growth. Last year was a total failed crops and we were left with barren drought. This could have been turned into a complete desert but that seams to be avoided.
Well, do we have fertile ground for growth? This spring gave us a bit of rain to help the drought.
What we need is the regulators to create fertile ground. After that we will see green shouts and growth.
Thanks for a good tv-show, Lars Rikard

Ariel R   June 8th, 2009 1:29 pm ET

I think voting is a Civic duty and is a true testament to the democratic process. The pure meaning of the word "democracy" is derived from the meaning "demos", meaning people. Therefore, although you get instances where, as you correctly noted, there is no real obvious choice, the practice in itself to go to the booth is using your free right of choice to vote.
Take where I'm from as an example. In Israel, although the law states that elections are to take place every 4 years, they seem to be taking place every 2 (at most!), and there usually is no good stock to pick from, but yet, we Israelis do go out in our hords to show the politicians what we think of them and who we would like to represent us in various places of office. I too get a "high" by the pure act of inserting that envelope into the ballot box.

Samantha Christodoulatos   June 8th, 2009 8:31 pm ET

My first vote was cast in the March 2008 Presidential elections in Zimbabwe.
I knew the government would rig the elections and I'd be on the losing side but still felt the responsibility to cast my vote and seek change from Mugabe's oppressive rule.
What mattered most was that I didn't let anybody intimidate me into voting for the wrong party and that I could simply practice my right, regardless of the outcome.

Maria Noriega   June 9th, 2009 12:19 am ET

we should is our constitutional right why wasted 🙂

Bunmi   June 9th, 2009 10:19 am ET

In my country voting is just of a waste of time. You know who is going to win the election before the votes is counted.

George   June 11th, 2009 10:24 am ET

whats the use of using our constitutional right? is it going to do us any good?

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