Voter apathy is likely to continue in 2011

Dear Editor,

Was 2006 a trend or an aberration? Thirty-one per cent of the electorate stayed home in 2006 despite the presence of a new party promising change. In fact, the AFC was the only party that gained anything in terms of votes. The PNC and PPP both lost votes in 2006. The suspicious polls of Vishnu Bisram and NACTA suggest the same phenomenon is likely to occur in 2011, albeit to a lesser degree (around 20%). What is driving this non-attendance? Who is refusing to vote and for what reason? What caused the electorate to develop this pattern? This issue has not been studied in any significant detail. No polling has delved into this problem to understand it fully. This was a country that was known for 90 plus per cent of its electorate showing up for three straight elections. In 2006, 31% stayed home.

I believe people are fed up with the available political choices. They would rather not vote than vote for failed choices. Some of that low turnout may be an indication of fewer registrations and migration. However, the bulk of it relates to voter apathy, which is often the first indication of a need for political change. Given the current slate of candidates from all the major parties, it is likely that another massive chunk of voters will decide not to waste their time and vote for this group. The danger with this is that voter apathy is difficult to break once it becomes set. Currently, with political dinosaurs like Donald Ramotar and David Granger leading the primary parties, the apathy will likely continue. It is difficult for voters to motivate themselves with these political choices. Will we see a continuation of 2006 in 2011?

Yours faithfully,
M Maxwell