Does Large Voter Turn Out Mean Anything At All? Is Elections A Benchmark For A Country To Be Considered As A Democracy?

Al Arafat Sherfuddeen

May 18th, 2016 / 6:17 PM

Image Courtesy: intoday

Elections in four states came to a close and people braved the rain and participated in the democratic process. The young and the first time voters came in droves and made themselves part of the democratic process. Chennai as an exception had a low voter turn out. Chennaiites who had voted made their anger evident by criticizing the people who hadn’t voted. It was suggested that, people who don’t vote can’t criticize the government, it was inferred that things will never change if people don’t come out and vote and many more. In the light of there are few questions which is worth pondering

1.) Does larger voter turn out mean anything at all?
2.) Is free and fair elections a benchmark to measure democracy?

Let us look into both the questions

Does larger voter turn out mean anything at all?
A large turnout for elections is celebrated and a low turnout often branded as a disappointing affair. People largely blame the political class for the misfortunes of India. There is not party which people have unanimously endorsed as someone who are worth ruling. So the answer to the question is a few more questions.
Does low turn out favor a candidate with poor track record to win?
Does large turnout for elections guarantee a good candidate being selected? Given the fact that in every state it is largely a bi-partisan contest, with both the parties facing the ire of people one way or the other. A larger voter turnout could at best define the margin of losses or victory for the candidates.
Even if answers to this lead to the conclusion that large voter turn out is good, the question remains, do people who have not voted deserve the ire of the people who have voted? Isn’t Democracy about giving voice to the voiceless even if it means its a self inflicted choice?
People not coming out in large numbers is itself a statement made. Either the people have decided their vote does not or hasn’t made a difference that they found other work of their more important than voting. The debate is open here, we will love to know from our readers, what large voter turnout means to you? Is it being given way too much importance?

Is free and fair election a benchmark for measuring how Democratic a country is?

In the Index of democracy, few years back Singapore was not considered as a Democracy, today it has been categorized as a flawed Democracy, yet they conduct elections which are largely considered as fair. Bangladesh and Pakistan also conduct elections yet they are categorized a flawed Democracy or hybrid regime. Elections are a necessary condition but not a sufficient one for a Democracy. Free Media, Independent Judiciary, Responsive legislature, supremacy of the Constitution, establishment of rule of law and many others make a Democracy.
Voting is a good step 1 for Democracy, after voting, it is people’ responsibility to keep their elected representatives on their toes for keeping up their promises. The debate is open we are looking forward for people to share their opinions on the above mentioned

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