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Use Your Right to Vote, Say No to Abstentions in the 2024 Election


Using the right to vote in general elections is proof that a citizen has the responsibility to choose a candidate for a leader and to make the democratic party a success.

Without community participation, aka abstentions, of course the elections that will be held will not be maximally achieved and can even be said to be a failure.

            The high number of abstentions causes a low level of trust and credibility of the elected candidates. As a result, local governments cannot carry out their functions properly due to a lack of political support.

            Abstentions are not only caused by a reluctance to vote, but can also occur due to various obstacles, such as disabilities. So it is necessary to build awareness among stakeholders to be able to facilitate or provide proper access for voters with disabilities. Because they are also citizens who have the right to vote and are guaranteed by the constitution.

            Especially if we refer to the fact that the number of abstentions in the 2019 election reached 25 million people. This figure is certainly a concern for the organizers of the democratic party during the 2024 election.

            The chairman of the RI Bawaslu, Rahmat Bagja, said that one of the reasons for the high number of abstentions was the public’s ignorance of the candidate they chose.

            According to him, the votes provided for DPD RI are almost the same as party votes, but there are not many DPD voters. Therefore Bagja hopes that DPD RI candidates should increase voter participation in the Individual Pileg.

            Abstentions behavior is usually carried out by critical people who view that in elections there is no candidate they consider credible. Even though abstentions will only provide an opportunity for parties who are less competent to win the election.

            Abstentions are legally valid, in accordance with Article 28 of the Constitution and Article 23 of the Law on Human Rights. Article 28 of the UUD contains anything that is considered the basic rights of every human being, while article 23 of the UU HAM contains: “(1) every person is free to choose and has his or her political beliefs; (2) Everyone is free to have, issue and disseminate opinions according to his conscience, orally and or in writing, through print and electronic media with due observance of religious values, morality, order, public interest and national integrity.”

            However, people who already have the right to vote should exercise their right to vote, the greater voter participation, the better the legitimacy of our elections.

            If voters do not use their right to vote in elections, then they are not involved in determining their fate in the next 5 years. Even though the opportunity exists to elect leaders in both the legislative and executive sectors.

            The phenomenon of abstention itself apparently emerged in 1971 as a form of rejection of the authoritarian New Order regime. At that time, during the general elections in the New Order era, there was mobilization and intimidation to support Suharto. In addition, the government also closed the space for the emergence of opposition forces.

            Of course the problem is different from the elections which will be held in 2024, because in this election there is no closed space for the opposition. So that people need to use their right to vote and there is no reason to abstain.

            The younger generation who will exercise their right to vote, of course, needs to study which candidates will run in the next general election. For example, by studying candidate candidate information on trusted websites such as the RI Bawaslu or KPU.

            Apart from that, study the track record of parties or candidates who will fight in the election, this is needed as a consideration before moving towards the voting booth.

            On the other hand, the public must also filter information and not accept news at face value. Moreover, hoaxes that are spread on social media very quickly penetrate the very thin digital divide.

            Provocations to abstain from voting in elections may arise, especially if this is accompanied by quotes of verses that can stir up the atmosphere ahead of the election.

            Abstentions were born from the thoughts of some people who think that government can only be managed by leaders who are in accordance with the ideal concept of their own group without wanting to negotiate with the existing reality.

            In the context of democracy, of course there are still many critical community groups. There are still media and press ready to guard politicians’ promises every day. There are still independent civil institutions ready to oversee the government.

            Thus, golput can be said to be ignoring the fact that there are other intelligent groups in the democratic order apart from them. The abstentions act as if they see that there is no way out and that only they have an ideal conception. Then when the ideal concept cannot be applied, then they blame the reality on the ground.

            Therefore, use your right to vote for the creation of a credible, transparent and accountable 2024 election, because 5 minutes of the fate of the nation is determined by 5 minutes in the voting booth.

)* The author is a contributor to the Inti Media Institute

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