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Thread: What to do with decreasing election participation

  1. #1
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    What to do with decreasing election participation

    The percentage of voters in Israel who actually exercise their right to vote is diminishing with time.
    Since 2001, voting percentage has been below 70%, in the last two elections (2006, 2009) voting percentage has been below 65% (source)
    .

    The dangers of this phenomenon is:

    1) Many of the citizens will not feel that the elected Knesset and gov't represent them. Knesset and gov't lose legitimacy and loyalty of the citizens and will fint it hard to pass "unpopular" laws

    2) Small parties benefit from small voter numbers, as their chances of entering the Knesset rises. This contributes to the already increasing fragmentation in the Knesset and difficulties of maintaining strong and unified gov't.

    The issue has been discussed in the local media over the past days. The ideas that were raised to counter this:

    1) Make voting compulsory
    There are several western countries where voting is compulsory and violators are fined (Belgium, Austria, Australia and more)
    pro: this will surely increase voting percentage up to 90+ levels.
    con: it is not certain if this will increase voters commitment and involvement in the democratic process. It is even uncertain to increase voting percentage, since people may perform their duty by casting an "empty" vote (every polling station provides an empty card as vote, for the purpose that if a card is missing, the voter may use an empty card, write down the letter/s of the missing party and cast that card as vote). casting an empty card is considered "invalid" and it does not count as part of voting percentage.

    2) Allow Israeli citizens who travel abroad to vote in Israeli embassies. Again, there are several western countries who allow this.
    pro: this will surely increase voting percentage.
    con: not sure by how much.

    3) Allow Israeli citizens to vote in advance. As is done in the US.
    pro: this is another way to allow citizens who travel abroad to vote, as well as everyone else who will not be available on election day.
    con: ?

    4) Allow Israeli citizens who live abroad to vote in Israeli embassies.
    pro: this will surely increase voting percentage by a significant margin. Can perhaps contribute to commitment to Israel of Israeli citizens who live abroad.
    con: There are many Israeli residents who will not approve of an "outsider" deciding on their lives (yours truly is one of them)

    other ideas:
    - Allow citizens to vote in every polling station. Currently, a citizen may only vote in a predefined station, usually one that is close to their registered address. However, many voters live (e.g. rent) far away from their "registered" address, others may take a vacation and be far away from home (election day is a day off in Israel).
    - Electronic vote via the Internet.

    what say you?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Aliyah1995's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with decreasing election participation

    I am in favor of all, except for #1. I am against voting being compulsory for two reasons:

    1) it will only make citizens hold a grudge against voting and many will just "donkey vote" (i.e. been there, done that, have the t-shirt and not even really think about who they voted for).

    2) part of a democracy IMO is the right to NOT vote, no less than the right to vote.

    PS, another problem is students who study far away from where they are registered to vote (for example, attending Haifa Technion, but registered to vote where their parents' live, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, etc.) They should be able to vote where they attend college.
    "Study astronomy and physics if you desire to comprehend the relation between the world and G-d's management of it." - RaMBaM (Maimonides), Guide For The Perplexed

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    Re: What to do with decreasing election participation

    Aliyah, are you in favor of giving voting rights Israeli citizens who live abroad? even those who are living there for years?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Aliyah1995's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with decreasing election participation

    Sharonbn, too be honest, for a LONG time I was against it. I thought why should they have a say as to what goes on here when they will not have to DIRECTLY reap the results of their vote? However, after much thinking I realized that MANY Israelis who live overseas did put in their dues with serving in the IDF (many were even injured). And many do/did indeed come back to serve in the reserves when the country goes to war. So, I think it is ONLY fair that they should be able to vote (even if they don't plan on residing here again). Now, I understand that there are many Israelis living overseas who have NOT served. However, this is not an exact science. Either ALL Israeli expats should be able to vote or none should. To start crossing our T's and dotting our I's by saying only Israeli expats who have served or who still do reserve duty should be able to vote would make things a bit complicated.

    My 2 shekels....
    "Study astronomy and physics if you desire to comprehend the relation between the world and G-d's management of it." - RaMBaM (Maimonides), Guide For The Perplexed

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    Re: What to do with decreasing election participation

    Why not insist on IDF/national service as a mandatory voting right? Starting with people abroad.

    I think we should have no compunction about offering voting to recent Olim, who make yerida back to their country of birth, yet who want to vote in the election... nor sabras who got out of their IDF duties by going abroad. Our society is fundamentally based on national service. That and being Jewish, with intent on sovereignty, are the hallmarks of our citizenship.

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    Re: What to do with decreasing election participation

    Quote Originally Posted by bar-arallu View Post
    I think we should have no compunction about offering voting to recent Olim, who make yerida back to their country of birth, yet who want to vote in the election... nor sabras who got out of their IDF duties by going abroad. Our society is fundamentally based on national service. That and being Jewish, with intent on sovereignty, are the hallmarks of our citizenship.
    You are being sarcastic of course, aren't you barra?

    I do think that you are being sarcastic and I agree with you. Unless one puts one's own neck on the chopping block, and being affected by the outcome of their own vote, no one should have the right to vote in Israel or any other country for that matter.
    Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem.
    Author: John Galsworthy 1867-1933, British Novelist, Playwright

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    Re: What to do with decreasing election participation

    Quote Originally Posted by Reffo View Post
    I do think that you are being sarcastic and I agree with you. Unless one puts one's own neck on the chopping block, and being affected by the outcome of their own vote, no one should have the right to vote in Israel or any other country for that matter.
    I would agree completely Reffo. Otherwise the UN and it's petrodollar fueled, or extorted, puppeteers will no doubt vote for us.

    Of course there are other means to vote, so to speak. The greatest is with your shekel. Esp. since our plethora enemies do likewise (= JNF, Jstreet funded by accomplished judenrat and Arab shiek the same).

    Accomplishment, to paraphrase Marx's remarks on Hegel's thoughts, comes from actions not fancy words or lofty ideas. And das capital acts plenty.

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