What’s Your Vote Worth?
If the hubbub on social media channels are anything to go by, the stakes of this upcoming election are really high. For the past few months, people have been engaging in friendly (and, often, unfriendly) word wars over their chosen candidates or manoks—to go by the colloquial. While it’s heartening to see lively and robust discussions like these, the funny subtext that many people don’t realize is that far too many Filipinos aren’t even registered to vote.
Of the roughly 101,498,763 Filipinos worldwide, only around 52,014,648 are duly registered voters. Granted, a great majority of the total number of Filipinos will be underage and not eligible to vote anyway, it’s still a great many votes that aren’t getting cast. If you look deeper, it gets slightly more disturbing. Of those not registered, around 2,500,000 are officially inactive. Of those registered, many aren’t planning on voting anyway. For those keeping themselves out of the electoral process, the main justification always rotates on the feeling that their votes won’t make a difference. PawnHero looks at what makes your vote far more valuable than you can ever imagine.
(Also read: If the Presidential Candidates Were Part of Your Family)
One Voice Among Many
At first blush, one person’s singular voice does seem miniscule and not really worth much. As much as we’d like to say that elections can be one by a single vote, that’s never historically happened either. The thing is, though, that while we might vote as single entities, the experiences and beliefs that underlie our votes are actually something that we share with our countrymen. In a sense, the vote you cast for a particular candidate helps to drive the issues that matter to you to forefront of national consciousness to be, hopefully, acted upon by the elected president.
Not voting isn’t just some symbolic surrendering of your participation in the process, if you’re joined by more with the same mindset, you actually lower the chances of your candidate winning. If said candidate was best representative of the issues that matter most to you—like OFW rights, education, public safety, etc—then there’s a chance your issues might not be the priority of the incoming administration. To say that you don’t have a right to complain about the state of things is an exaggeration, but you did, in fact, contribute to a loss via your non-participation.
Give a Little Teeth to that Fight
Everyone has an opinion. You only need to take a quick glance at your social media feed to find that Filipinos can be very, very passionate about politics and their candidates. It sometimes reaches a point where friends go their separate ways and some even find their inboxes filled with horrific death threats and challenges to intellectual discourse. While it isn’t always a pleasant thing to behold, the fact is that these expressions are all protected by our democracy. Your vote, however, gives meaning and credence to these impassioned expressions of your sentiments.
There’s a reason why people can be passionate about politics and that reason is that our society and the conditions therein are the result of years of politicking. While not exclusively brought about by the government, the problems and ills that we face can be traced to programs implemented and ignored over the years. But again, everything becomes moot if you don’t choose your next leader carefully and cast your vote in his or her favor. While we here, it should be mentioned that democracy might protect your right to voice or express your opinion, but it certainly helps to be civil and courteous.
So What’s It Worth?
101,498,763 souls and their futures under the next leader is the essential price of your voice and your vote. When May 9 rolls around, each and every one of us will be taking the future of this country in our hands. So vote for who you feel is best. Don’t let anyone tell you your opinion isn’t valid, isn’t smart, or isn’t relevant. Because it is. And it’s yours and yours alone. Plus, at the end of the day, the impetus for change lies within all of us. Our next leader will be the guide and the example, but we’ll still need to play our parts very carefully.
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