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Abstentions during elections are not a solution to improve the fate of the nation

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By: Ridwan Putra Khalan )*

The 2024 election is in sight. Ahead of the election, people are urged not to abstain from abstentions (white groups). When you abstain from voting for any party or presidential candidate, the losers are the citizens themselves because abstentions cannot improve the fate of the nation. Elections can fail when many decide to abstain, therefore the public is strictly prohibited from doing so.

The word golput was popular at the end of the New Order era, when people were apathetic towards politics and Indonesia’s future. People who abstain do not vote for a party or presidential candidate and ignore invitations to come to TPS (Polling Places). However, during the Reformation era, there were still those who thought that abstentions were better than taking part in elections.

The rise of abstentions makes the government worried because it is dangerous and cannot improve the fate of the nation. Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto stated that the Indonesian people must use and not waste their right to vote for various reasons. Don’t abstain from voting because of work, difficulty managing time, being there because you have no interest, being lazy, and so on.

Prabowo added that golput is very detrimental because those who do not exercise their right to vote are wasting their opportunity. The fate of the people is determined by elections so that if many people abstain it is the same as losing money.

In that sense, golput is not a solution to improve the fate of the nation. The reason is because if many people do not exercise their right to vote, then the future of Indonesia is at stake. There will be many empty ballots because the majority of the people decide to abstain from voting because they are skeptical about the condition of the country, often protest against the government, feel angry at officials, and so on.

If there are many empty ballots, it will be detrimental because there is the potential for misuse by unscrupulous persons. The ballot could have been pierced with a nail or crossed out with a ballpoint pen, then fraud occurred.

If ballots are misused then Indonesia’s future is at stake. As a result, the new members of the DPR RI are also not as expected, so that the fate of the nation becomes a big question.

Then, when there is misuse of ballots due to abstentions, there could be mistakes in the presidential election. If the president should be candidate A, then the one elected is candidate B. Indonesia’s future can change, not stagnate, but it may not be any better than before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Therefore, people are strictly prohibited from abstaining for any reason. Abstentions are not cool at all because they are detrimental to Indonesia’s future. Then, if many abstain, the government will also lose because the election budget of 76 trillion rupiah will be wasted, because the results are not as expected.

Meanwhile, the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security (Menkopolhukam), Mahfud MD stated that people who choose not to use their voting rights or abstain from voting will basically be disadvantaged electorally. If he doesn’t vote, it means he gives an opportunity to someone whose choice is worse than him, so that he is electorally disadvantaged.

Mahfud continued, the decision to abstain was usually made by people who had idealistic minds so they only wanted really good candidates. When you think nothing is good, then don’t choose. If you then think that there are no good candidates and then he abstains, then it will be a loss because he chooses or does not vote, while a new leader must be born.

In a sense, when many abstain, it will harm themselves. People who abstain because they are too idealistic will not even be satisfied with the president who will be elected in 2024. The reason is because he decided not to vote and was chosen by someone else.

One vote contributed by the people will determine the future of the nation. Therefore, the public is prohibited from wasting the votes they have, either to choose the preferred candidate in the legislative or executive election or presidential candidate.

It is from one voice after another that will give birth to policies that have an important impact on the future of the nation and state. Including welfare and equity development and social justice.

The government will not remain silent, but will take precautions so that the number of voters who choose to abstain does not increase. Appeals after appeals were made by the government and election administrators not to abstain from abstentions, let alone inviting people to abstain.

The prohibition against inviting golput itself has actually been stipulated in the law, namely Law Number 8 of 2012 concerning General Elections (Pemilu). There are several articles related to voter participation. Apart from that, there are about two articles that explain threats to those who invite other people to abstain.

The regulation referred to, Article 292 of Law 8/2012 states that anyone who deliberately causes another person to lose their right to vote is subject to imprisonment for a maximum of two years and a fine of up to IDR 24 million.

People are urged not to abstain from abstaining and to continue exercising their rights in the 2024 elections. Abstentions are not a solution to improve the fate of the nation. Precisely when many people who abstain will harm themselves and harm the country’s finances.

)* The author is a contributor to Nusantara Reading Room

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