Democracy has been taking a beating.
In Canada the 2008 elections had a 58.8% voter turnout. The lowest in the country’s history.
The last Polish elections saw 46% of those eligible actually cast a vote.
In fact many industrialized countries are experiencing declines in voter participation. And the youth vote is falling sharply. This seems really puzzling considering that Poland fought so hard and for so long to actually attain democracy. Nations shed blood and fight wars for their right to choose their leaders, yet, when it’s time to vote… not many do.
Why is that?
Has freedom made us totally indifferent?
Or is voter apathy the result of politicians that just don’t listen?
After President Lech Kaczyński’s death in the Smolensk plane crash on April 10th, the Constitution required the Marshal of the Sejm (the lower house of the Polish parliament) to set a date for elections within the following 60 days.
The date has been set for June 20, 2010.
Now a new initiative has kick started with a call to action for an active participation in Polish democracy. Masz głos, masz wybór! which roughly translates to „you’ve got a voice, you’ve got a choice” is an initiative of the School for Leaders and the Stefan Batory Foundation. Involved are also members of the media, press and various PR agencies.
The aim is to get people to not only vote but to take be active in local politics.
Afterall, political leaders and the choices that they make have a huge influence on citizens and what better way to make a positive change then through active participation in the political process. To deliver their message Masz głos, masz wybór organizes various grassroots initiatives such as lectures, debates and panel discussions.
Polish-Canadians with dual citizenships can also take action.
For a basic primer on some of the presidential candidates visit Wikipedia, although if anyone has any other useful links to websites in English please pass them along.
For more information about Masz głos, masz wybór! visit the organizations website and check out this slick video to cross the “X”.