What I want to be enfranchised

To be considered enfranchised I need:

  1. To be able to express a preference or preferences for individuals.
  2. For that expression to have some effect.

Preferences for Individuals

At the moment, I am invited to put my X (the mark of illiteracy!) against a candidate selected by a party selection committee.  This candidate owes his or her allegiance to the party (through the party whips in Parliament, or through the selection committees in the constituencies).  I have to take what the parties offer.  It is very rare for an independent to stand and get elected.  And a parliament composed entirely of independents would probably lack cohesion.  So, how do you maintain a party system, yet still offer voters a choice of individuals.

Expressions having effect

If someone votes, their vote should have some effect, that is it should do some work towards electing someone.  However in most parts of the country the electorate is strongly tribal which leads to safe seats.  This has two effects: if  you are not “of the tribe”, your vote has no effect and you might as well not vote; if you are “of the tribe”, the chances are they don’t need all your support and you could probably stay at home without putting the result in serious jeopardy.

If you cannot express a preference and if that expression would have had no effect anyway, you are disenfranchised.

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