Strengthening Democracy

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) recently disclosed voter registration figures, revealing that out of a population of approximately 240 million, only 126 million individuals are registered voters. This highlights the issue of disenfranchisement and demands immediate attention from the government and the populace.
Voting is the cornerstone of a democratic society, enabling citizens to influence leadership choices and shape governing policies. By casting their ballots, people voice their opinions and aspirations for the future. A high voter turnout ensures that the government is truly representative of the people’s will, and it strengthens the legitimacy of the political system.
Not only this, active citizen participation sends a powerful message to politicians and governments, holding them accountable for their actions. It encourages elected officials to be responsive to the constituents’ needs and promotes transparency, accountability, and effective governance.
When a substantial portion of the population remains disengaged, the voices of marginalised communities go unheard, perpetuating inequality and undermining social justice. Moreover, low turnout can result in the election of leaders who do not reflect the majority’s interests, leading to policies that may not align with people’s needs. Another major consequence is the decreased level of political competition which can severely impact the strength of a democracy.
To address this issue, the government should prioritise initiatives aimed at enhancing civic participation. Efforts must be made to eliminate barriers hindering voter registration and participation, such as lack of awareness, accessibility challenges, and logistical issues. Investments in voter education programs and the utilisation of technology such as registration vans. E-Registration etc., to streamline the voting process can foster a more inclusive and vibrant democracy.
A strong democracy relies on the active involvement of its citizens. By bolstering voter turnout, the government can fortify the shaken foundation of democracy, amplify people’s voices, and establish a more inclusive and representative society.

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