Friday, April 10, 2009

Non-voting does not equal Golput!

I always get irritated when anyone refers to those who do not cast their vote as 'Golput.' Even in the media it is very often we see a passage like "Golput rate reached 30%." You may not like math, but the number cited is the non-voting turnout rate. Non-voting turnout is simply non-voting turnout, which is 100%-turnout rate. Become a Golput is one reason, among many reasons, for not voting. People may have other reasons not to vote; lazy (in academic jargon, the benefit to go to the ballot is smaller than the cost), no candidates matches one's preference, unregistered to vote, unable to be present, and so forth.

The Golput original term was brought to the vocabulary by this person. Back in the 1970s, Suharto 'simplified' the political system by allowing only 10 parties to compete in 1971, then reduced to three in 1977-99. Golput was an expression that no one, including the government, can take away one's political right. So Golput was a resistance movement against an undemocratic election. Even Prof. Budiman himself admit that the current election is already democratic, hence Golput is no longer relevant. Well, you may choose not to vote because you don't like the candidates for any reasons. But the fact is your not being stripped off your rights.

Of course, no one has the patent or copy rights to the term. So anyone can basically use the word, even if it has already been distorted from the original meaning. At your own risk (of embarassment), you may also claim that all non-voting voters have one interest, which you can represent, and think that all of them will vote for you. Wanna try?

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