Voter registration

2008-11-08 00:00

As South Africa celebrated the election of the first African American to become president of the United States, a striking feature of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech was its broad inclusiveness. A key feature of democracy is that once the votes are cast, the will of the majority shall prevail and the victorious party must from then on provide for the welfare of the whole nation. The majority is not necessarily always right, but free and fair elections at regular intervals ensure that governments always remain accountable to the electorate. It is this that makes the right to vote so precious, and makes it so important to use one’s vote at every opportunity.

Paradoxically, one of the challenges facing every democracy is to overcome voter apathy, and this country is no exception. The passion of the freedom struggle is fading and with it the fervour with which the newly enfranchised masses cast their first votes. For today’s young adults, politics is no longer an overriding concern. Yet their decisions in the coming election will shape the future of the country that they inherit, especially as the split in the ruling party presents the possibility of a significant shift in the direction that the nation has been taking.

The first step towards electing a government that effectively serves the interests of the people is to register as a voter. This weekend provides an opportunity to do that, and Internet and

cellphone technology make it easier than ever before. Do it.

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