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Losing the right to vote?

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While not always the case, for many of us that chose to embrace the world unfettered by the borders of our birth… we give up a few things along the way… like the right to vote.

Many Manitoba provincial and Canadian federal elections ago I lost the right to exercise my democratic ‘right.’ And while I may have lived a decade + in India, that alone would never bestow any rights to participate in elections here.

Yet if I COULD vote who WOULD I vote for??

  • A right that can tolerate atrocities against an entire religious community?
  • A now notoriously corrupt party with a slightly more centre left legacy?

Til date, it is hard not to hold a highly cynical very disengaged perspective of Indian politics. And then along came the “Aam Admi Party” who did the unthinkable… take the wide-spread frustration with corruption and communal politics to create a 3rd option. Adopting the symbol of the humble broom… AAP aims to sweep away corruption with a different set of ideals.

“… The common people are fed up with the politics of the BJP and the Congress which is slave to religion, caste and region… This is a fight of principles and against corruption,” said Mr. Kejriwal.

AAP Broom (Photo: Aam Party BlogSpot)

AAP Broom (Photo: Aam Party BlogSpot)

They may not succeed or deliver on their promises and while they haven’t won the recent election in Delhi, the AAP has gone from nothing nine months ago to 28 of 70 seats.

“It is a historic win, but not of the Aam Admi Party (AAP), but the common man of the country. And the fight to make the country corruption-free and provide a clean and good governance will go across the country in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections,” said party’s convenor Arvind Kejriwal.

So today, I’m just a tiny bit less cynical… maybe there is hope for what is supposedly the world’s largest democracy. I’ll watch from the sidelines and see what comes next…

Any thoughts on walking away from participating in a democratic process? Elections in other parts of the world? Or the recent ones in India?

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13 Comments

  1. I don’t vote either, although I could, in European elections. In fact, they have just written to me about that. I voted in the UK in local elections, I had the right to do so. Just national elections I was not allowed to participate in. Not sure what the situation is in Spain, but I should have the right to vote in local elections…

    I don’t claim to know much (or anything) about Indian politics, but isn’t India infamous for having a really good set of laws that aren’t enforced…?

    • Well… at least you have a choice to participate if you want… that’s something. I’ve been denied for a decade.

      Earlier when I was a student in India did all the paperwork to cast my vote remotely… bit complicated but managed. However long ago lost residency… tried to register and got a rather emphatic online message that I no longer qualified. Sigh…

      As for India being (in)famous for good laws not enforced… yeah that’s a pretty good way of describing things. Which is what makes this whole AAP movement so powerful… Let’s see what happens!

  2. brothervern says:

    I am a 67 year old man located in southern Indiana, USA. I have never failed to vote in any election since I was old enough to vote. I have become so disenchanted with the political process in this nation that I am seriously considering just not voting anymore. I wish there was an honest alternative available.

  3. Don’t you guys have outstation centres where you can vote? Anyway, travelling is definitely better than voting. At least you won’t feel cheated.
    😀

  4. findingvarun says:

    Ms. Carissa, I thank you for liking my blog. I truly admire your unrest for not being able to vote while many youngsters in India throw away this privilege. Many friends of mine haven’t even applied for a voter i.d. Let us hope AAP actually deliver on their promise. Please continue to support my blog. Cheers

  5. findingvarun says:

    Yes you are right. but we cannot spread our branches far & wide if our roots are not firmly established in the soil. becoming global is not wrong but doing so at the cost of our national identity is tragic

    • I don’t see losing the opportunity to vote as making me any less Canadian…. it is and always will be the country of my birth, the place that provided a firm foundation and enough exposure to be lucky enough to embrace life beyond its borders.

      And not every country has the same approach to requiring citizens to retain residency to qualify to vote. I’ll admit I’m not entirely in touch with Canadian politics today – be it federal, provincial or municipal. And certainly if miraculously I was given the opportunity to vote in Canada again – would take time to re-acquaint myself with the prevailing issues and people. But would I participate? Absolutely without a doubt!

  6. […] country India that I live in… however, as a  ’firangi’ (foreigner), I cannot vote and therefore, have no […]

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