Five reasons why you should vote

Photo / Richard Robinson
Photo / Richard Robinson

The general elections are coming up and it's our civic duty to vote. While many might feel it's too much of a drag, voting is really important.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Honour New Zealand's democratic legacy

In 1893, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to allow all women the right to vote in parliamentary elections. This should not be taken for granted. It took nearly three decades for the US to get its act together. The 19th Amendment was passed in 1920.

2. Earn the right to complain

Politicians can make bad decisions, and there are policies you will not agree with. However, if you don't vote, you have no grounds to complain.

3. Don't be a stereotype

The Electoral Commission is targeting those between the ages of 18 and 25 to get them to the polling booths. Statistics show, the youth vote is a hard one to get.

The younger you are the longer you will have to live with the consequences of the election.

4. Embrace equality

It doesn't matter who you are or what you do, your vote counts just as much as everyone else's. Wealth, good looks, the gift of the gab - persuasive qualities don't mean a thing.

5. Lorde says so

The Electoral Commission worked with Lorde, 17, to produce two videos of the singer talking about why voting is important and how important it is for young people to have a say in the elections. She says she can't wait to vote and likens it to a rite of passage.

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If that doesn't persuade you, below is the text from a leaflet published by the Women's Christian Temperance Union in May 1888, which was sent to every member of the House of Representatives (source NZ History Online).

Ten reasons why the women of New Zealand should vote (1888)

1. Because a democratic government like that of New Zealand already admits the great principle that every adult person, not convicted of crime, nor suspected of lunacy, has an inherent right to a voice in the construction of laws which all must obey.

2. Because it has not yet been proved that the intelligence of women is only equal to that of children, nor that their social status is on a par with that of lunatics or convicts.

3. Because women are affected by the prosperity of the Colony, are concerned in the preservation of its liberty and free institutions, and suffer equally with men from all national errors and mistakes.

4. Because women are less accessible than men to most of the debasing influences now brought to bear upon elections, and by doubling the number of electors to be dealt with, women would make bribery and corruption less effective, as well as more difficult.

5. Because in the quietude of home women are less liable than men to be swayed by mere party feeling, and are inclined to attach great value to uprightness and rectitude of life in a candidate.

6. Because the presence of women at the polling-booth would have a refining and purifying effect.

7. Because the votes of women would add weight and power to the more settled and responsible communities.

8. Because women are endowed with a more constant solicitude for the welfare of the rising generations, thus giving them a more far-reaching concern for something beyond the present moment.

9. Because the admitted physical weakness of women disposes them to exercise more habitual caution, and to feel a deeper interest in the constant preservation of peace, law, and order, and especially in the supremacy of right over might.

10. Because women naturally view each question from a somewhat different standpoint to men, so that whilst their interests, aims, and objects would be very generally the same, they would often see what men had overlooked, and thus add a new security against any partial or one-sided legislation.

- nzherald.co.nz

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