In a State built on democratic principles, citizens are allowed to participate in the political process. One of the most important types of such participation is the possibility of forming elected public authorities. However, today the topic of citizens’ refusal to participate in the political life of society is becoming more and more relevant. This has a negative impact on the formation of civil society structures and the effectiveness of elected authorities. For one reason or another, the increasing number of people who refuse to participate in the elections of authorities raises the problem of the legitimacy of the chosen government. Therefore, some states apply various measures to increase turnout – from introducing a minimum turnout threshold to fines. Nevertheless, to apply measures to increase people’s participation in political life, it is necessary to understand the causes and consequences of political absenteeism.
Based on sociological research, there are four main reasons why people do not want to participate in government elections (Carta and Kiehl 54). The first of them is people’s usual lack of interest in politics. Today, more and more citizens say that they are not interested in politics and therefore do not see the point in voting. The second reason is the population’s disbelief in the integrity of the elections. If the government gives the prerequisites to doubt the honesty of counting the results, many citizens will not vote next time. The third reason for absenteeism is disbelief that elections affect the country’s life, region, and city (Zuckerman 37). Finally, sometimes people refrain from going to the polls by the fact that their results are too predictable. If everyone knows in advance which party will win, then the realization that one vote can change something disappears, and therefore the desire to vote.
These most critical reasons look pretty alarming. The lack of public interest in politics is, of course, quite an abstract thing. However, the established disbelief in the integrity of elections, and the incredulity that elections affect life, are quite challenging to overcome in the mass consciousness in a short time (Dodo and Dodo 13). The factor of predictability of elections has developed. It has come to the leading position not so long ago. Therefore, it can be assumed that it has taken root in the mass consciousness to a lesser extent. The consequences of not voting in elections are no less alarming than their causes.
The first and most important consequence of political absenteeism is the doubtfulness of the legitimacy of the chosen government. If most people do not express their opinions at the elections, then a democratic state cannot fully be (Redlawsk and Habegger 23). This is because democracy is the power of the people, who, in fact, do not express their opinion without participating in elections. The second consequence of the population’s non-participation in the elections is the possible dictatorship of the minority. If a minor part of the population expresses its opinion, it is a dictator for the majority, which should accept its choice. This problem may deepen over time, also jeopardizing the democracy of the state.
Summing up, political absenteeism is a serious social problem of our time. Among the reasons for such behavior of the population are such factors as lack of interest in politics, disbelief in the integrity of elections, and the fact that elections can really change something. People may also be repelled from participating in elections due to the lack of high-quality competition due to the predictability of results. The consequences of political absenteeism can be the dictatorship of the minority and the doubtfulness of the legitimacy of the chosen government. Thus, the state does not need to increase the turnout in the elections the population to preserve its democracy and legitimacy.
Carta, Stefano, and Emilija Kiehl. Political Passions and Jungian Psychology: Social and Political Activism in Analysis. Routledge, 2020. Web.
Dodo, Obediah, and Gloria Dodo. Youth, Parental Absenteeism and Political Bases in Mazowe District. Child & Youth Services, vol. 39, no. 1, 2018, pp. 4-16.
Redlawsk, David, and Habegger, Michael. A Citizen’s Guide to the Political Psychology of Voting. Routledge, 2020. Web.
Zuckerman, Alan. Doing Political Science: An Introduction to Political Analysis. Routledge, 2019. Web.