Monday, May 7, 2012

Who do you vote for?

Image of voters in Sierra Leone






I am not really asking you to tell me. In fact I am suggesting that you don't. 

Chances are pretty high that you vote either:
 
1) Exactly as your parents did/do
2) For the same political party that you voted for the first time you voted.

Popps recently came with me to a polling station for a local vote and as we left she asked "who did you pick, which one did you vote for?"

I told her that I couldnt tell her. That it is important people vote secretly, for who they believe is best and don't have to justify or discuss their choice with their friends. We talked about how everyone likes to vote for different people but you can still all like each other. 

That you shouldn't worry about who other people vote for either. It's their choice. 

And what I was doing was exactly what my parents did, without really thinking about it.

I still have no idea who my parents vote for. Mum once answered me with 'donkey vote' and told me to look up what it meant. The next time she told me she voted informally, and I had to look up what that meant. I don't believe this was true either time, but it was the fast answer of saying, 'none of your business'.

Every time I asked Dad "who'd you vote for?" he replied that he voted by secret ballot. 

When I first had to vote, I had to make up my own mind. I invested many hours in my choice, really feeling as though my vote was going to be the deciding point. According to the statistics who I voted for will likely be who I choose for life. I wish it was that easy.

All I really know is that I wont be sharing with the girls who I vote for either. Instead I will share with them my values and ethics and try to teach them to be independent thinkers so they can make the choice that they think is the wise one when they start voting one day. If I don't agree with it, then I will just have to live with it. As long as they get to vote things will usually be ok.



17 comments:

  1. This is pretty similar to the way that I was brought up. I think I kind of always knew who my parents voted for, but they always told me that I could make my own informed decision when it came time for me to vote, and I did. I think it's the voting that matters.

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  2. Mine are too young for that talk yet. I'm sure it's coming. I think in the end it will not be much of a mystery to them as I'm pretty open in talking about it with my spouse in front of the kids.

    Politics was also openly discussed in our house so I knew who my parents voted for and it was one of many factors that shaped my thoughts on my place in the world and how I should choose.

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    1. I would say that current affairs was discussed openly in our house, but always the two sides to the story might be aired. Never any strong political views that is for sure. I could never guess.

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  3. I think many people in this country take the right to vote for granted. We have a say and should make it count. I think the current political climate has stirred a lot of people into actually thinking and caring about their vote. Glad it is "compulsory" too because it eliminates total apathy. If people want to vote informally they can, but they have to at least show up and get their name ticked off.

    On a side note, it absolutely astounds me that in 2011/2012 we still don't have computerised electoral rolls at polling booths. People can still tort the system because it's on paper. What's up with that?

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    1. Agree with the compulsory, if you really really don't want to turn up, pay the fine and be done with it.

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  4. I always knew - my parents were pretty vocal about their dislike for one party! I vote the same as them, but only because in my lifetime I can clearly see which party I think the country (and state) has been better under. Will I share that with A? Probably, but not to try and sway her vote, just because I'd tell anyone who asked me. I don't see it as a big secret thing.

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  5. I'm a bit with Megan. Even though I do try to take each policy or person with their own pros and cons, I do vote the same way as my parents. It is my choice, based on what I researched. I can't say whether I would have voted for a different party if they did, i guess it all plays a part in what we discussed at the dinner table growing up. Even though we vote the same in the major party, we have differed on the local side of things. And there are a few issues that my parents stand for that I oppose and vise versa. I don't mind who my kids vote for, as long as they appreciate and value it. My son will be voting in his first election when next we vote. I will remind him that it is his right to cast it as he chooses best, and I'll be okay if that differs from mine. But I guess because our values and interests are similar, I would be surprised if it was. But thank goodness we have an amazing country where you know your vote is counted, you only have to wait five minutes to vote & there will be a sausage sizzle involved :-)

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    1. The sausage sizzle - an essential part of every polling booth, manned by the Parents and Friends of the local Public school!

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    2. Thanks for your blog yesterday. Pleased to say the kids and I had a talk last night. It occurred to me that perhaps they did feel a sense of obligation to follow the family herd. Thankfully they both confidently told me that they would indeed vote for who they wanted & although wouldn't be afraid to tell me if it was a different party to mine, we all agreed we'd probably keep it from my father! Ha ha.

      My son's interest in his first upcoming Federal election isn't as high as I thought it would be. And when he made a flippant remark about just picking something on the day, we (perhaps I, lol) 'chatted' a bit more and showed him your blog photo of the long line of voters & reminded him of his liberties and blessings.

      Luckily my daughter's class spent some time in Yr 10 last year discussing voting & politics. My sweet little 16 year old who's main interests in life seem to cover clothes, makeup and friends, confidently told me she's all over it & can't wait to vote! Bless her (think the future is going to be ok after all)

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  6. I know now who my dad votes for but I don't think he answered me either when I asked growing up. He didn't make his political opinions a secret so once I learned more about party policies it became obvious which side he leaned more towards.

    However, my inlaws, particularly my mother in law, are VERY vocal about who they vote for. Sometimes it's policy related, but much of the time it seems like it's "because that's the way I vote".

    Funnily enough my dad and my MIL vote for the same party, while neither DH or I have ever voted for them.

    I think I will take a similar approach to you. I don't have a problem discussing politics (love it!) but I don't want my children to vote XYZ because 'that's what we do'; I'd prefer them to make that decision themselves.

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  7. Interesting , my oldest has yet to vote so I have no idea we have never really discussed politics.
    I think my hubby votes differently to me and I vote for underdogs.
    I think our parents do influence our decisions.

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  8. I think upbringing has a big influence, even though we are certainly far from a political family I vote the same as my parents. As for my kids, they will be free and be encouraged to take in both sides and choose. Thank God for our freedom.

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  9. I was brought up very similar.
    Hubby on the other hand was not, and every time we have to vote, he demands to know who I voted for, and I refuse to tell him. I must say though, that living where I live there is very little choice on the ballot and it has been the same party elected since the beginning of time (at least it feels that way). At least we can vote though!

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  10. I always talk it over with hubby, I figure we should probably vote for the same, otherwise we might as well not vote at all.

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  11. My parents were offended that voting was compulsory when they first arrived in Australia and pretty much chose the "donkey vote" for a long time. They did realise the value of voting eventually, but it was not something we discussed, I just wasn't that interested at the time.

    For a long time I agonised over my voting decisions, but having worked in government I saw that in the end it didn't really matter. I learnt about political and economic cycles and that whatever will be, will be. Yes, I love Doris Day. I'd like to vote for her :-)

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  12. My father was a bricklayer, I'll let you decide which party he was pretty vocal about disliking. I have to admit I used to vote the same way but find it hard to vote for either major party these days. And, like my parents, I find it hard to keep a lid on who my preference is. I like that you've got me to thinking about how that may influence my own children though x

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