By Robert Abeiku-Ansah
In Ghana’s electoral laws, a 50% of total endorsement from citizens in Presidential Elections is certainly not enough to make one a President of the Republic. This law requires just one additional individual to make the 50% total votes meaningful enough. Therefore, what exactly does the plus one (+1) vote mean?
Many people have considered voting to be the foundational concept of the democratic structure of organizations and nations. If democracy is anything to go by in modern times, then voting can only be described as the engine of the processes or the real master or even meaning of the term.
I think that a voter is the soul of democracy and everything about it actually revolves around him. His task is to choose the lesser evil. He is more or less like the death verdict who is given the option to choose between methods of death. I also believe that a voter has to choose a political dispensation that will stifle him inside out for years. This could be the reason why many will continue to consider the voter as the key part of the structures that make up democracy.
If a nation’s political foundation is built using elections and voters are the only most important constituency of such, then it could merely be obvious confirmation that a voter is the soul of democracy.
Politicians have been key actors in modern forms of democracy and have played key roles in shaping the mentalities of voters who might be in politics or not. Because politicians know how relevant voters remain to be, they have, in diverse ways, succeeded in making voters vulnerable in several aspects of the dispensation. Such social gullibility continues to make many voters dependent on politicians and political decisions. At some stage, it occurs that voters lose sight of their key roles as decision makers in building a nation, its structures or a completely new system for their own benefits and others. But become so much interested in their own values and how much they are virtually worth in the hands of the politicians.
If all voters can see themselves as the potential +1 and not the 50%, decision-making processes involved in the entire exercise would have been one devoid of such cruel intimidation and dependencies.
Should the voter be abused and regarded only as an important tool in winning elections, no amount of intervention will save him unless he disentangles himself from such captivity. In situations where the hands of the voter is always tied to his back as a criminal who owes endless explanations to avoid being lynched, the temptation of vulnerability remains unavoidable to the politician.
This may also partly center on the fact that the voter mostly go to the discussion table with his “price quotation”.
Indeed, the supposed price quotation may actually not include the cost of damages such decisions may incur on the fortunes and distresses of those upon whose mandate the voter makes a decision.
It may be strange to understand if indeed the relevance and key role of the voter is ‘just to vote’ as an equitable and inalienable fundamental right or to focus on understanding the implications of participating as a right that encompasses broader notion and not just equality.
Does the decision of a voter affects other voters equally? We know that without voting, citizens are mostly voiceless; unfortunately, we are yet to know if the voting rights of those who exercise such have solved the problems of those without voting right.
So at what point does the voter stands up to the occasion?
I believe that at the point the voter considers himself as the soul of the entire process of election, giving himself a priceless value of excellent representation and for efficiency. I also think the time that the voter knows the impact of the decisions he makes and the actual relevance of that decision in line with the vision of the preferred candidate or system.
But there is more to it. The very twinkling instance where voters decide to create a unified structure of turning times of despair into great moments of optimism will provide an excellent platform to give meaning to the +1 vote needed. Though this could be true, little is actually known of whose vote eventually constitutes either the 50% or the plus one.
There is a market space for buying and selling of votes within a stratified system of democracy. The word itself has failed to do the honors of being democratic. Whilst many capitalize on the weaknesses within its structure to optimize ventures, others depend on the influxes to make amends with their destinies.
In such situations where the voter fails to know who exactly he is in the realms of present dispensations but considers himself as a beneficiary of his position, the next obvious outcome is a sign of defeat.
It may be dangerous though for a voter to deny himself a complete knowledge of the ideas upon which his mandate remains valid. But such validity may be compromised over and over again by the controlling powers of the game changers. The game changers develop an immunity to the pressing demand of the voter after a calculated objective has been achieved.
Such an achievement itself may also be short-lived depending on the level of appreciation and regrets by the same voter.
Again, it does occurs where voters begin to regret making decisions on impulse and under several influences. Maybe alcohol has been a factor but it remains rightly so since such influences have formed a chronic sickness that makes a whole community fall into coma sometimes.
Therefore, does every voter really matter? Your guess may be as good as that of yours sincerely,