Monday January 20, 2020
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An Odium towards Compulsory Voting


By Vishakha Mathur

From the power in the hands of the people to being the very basis of democracy, voting has time and again been supported as a right instead of a privilege or a duty. However, the recent call taken by the Gujarat government to make voting compulsory (which later got struck down by the High Court) is a move indicating the changing nature of state power strangling the citizens with their own rights.

Should government force citizens to vote?

This brings us to evaluate, if at all, it is desirable for the government to argue a case for themselves in order to force voting upon people. The whole discussion and debate for compulsory voting starts with dwindling voter turnout which not only reflects on the health of democracy through contemplating the lack of interest among those who the elections directly affect, but also exaggerates the imbalance of interests. How this primarily happens is when a certain section of the citizen body votes, they vote to further their own interests and as these interests get represented in the government, they are able to take their interests way forward while neglecting the rest of the population. This majorly hurts the progress of a nation, thus calling for a greater voter turnout.

The government also seeks to argue that compulsory voting is not an infringement of the rights of the people and is, in fact a duty. How is this? This is justified by stating that even though one is dragged out of his house against his will to vote, it is beneficial to himm in the larger context and is not something that harms the individual directly. Thus, it is argued that it is not all that difficult to make it out on an election day but due to lack of motivation within people, it has come to compulsory voting.


Complimenting this argument is to say that citizens cannot merely be freeloaders. They cannot just sit in their house waiting and commenting on elections results, waiting to earn some benefits, when they have made absolutely no effort to deserve them. Voting, thus, becomes the primary responsibility of a citizen to do good for himself and for the society.

In the lieu of recent voter turnout of 45% in the Bangalore’s BBMP elections, it is imperative for the government to figure out a way to get more citizens motivated enough to vote instead of enjoying a day off from work and compulsory voting seems the way forward. But lets look back to understand, if that really is the case.

What are the problems with compulsory voting?

Voting was given as suffrage in initial democratic years to everyone who deserved to be a part of the system and wanted to bring change for the betterment of the society. One has to understand the concept of rights here. These were given to the citizens to ensure that they still remain the decision making body and no one and nothing forces them to do something against their will, with/without a third party harm. Since voting is one of the essential rights that people have, making it compulsory is an infringement and not a small one at that.

I understand this as a direct attack on democracy. I can only imagine the kind of snowballing effect this will create. Today, arguing on the shoulder of a small infringement, the government seeks to take away the right to vote and make it a duty, in a later time we can expect them to take many such actions that won’t hurt a third person and thus are acceptable. But the truth is that like this one, all of those steps will create a major backlash because they do hurt. They hurt the very bedrock of democracy, they hit the principles on which democracy stands, thus deviating from norms that make voting a “right” and not a “duty”, simple deviating from the model of democracy.

Government can, but it should not force citizens to vote

Although, the government can force its citizens to come and vote, it has to understand that this does not yield legitimacy to the elections. The root cause of low voter turnout is not because people are not interested, it is because either people are not aware or they are for any of the contenders standing in the elections. In such a scenario, this move will almost backfire when citizens will destroy the sanctity of the ballot by simply coming out to vote but not actually giving much thought to who they want to see win. This again, defeats the purpose of elections and this is not what India needs. India needs an inspiration, a wave of awareness, much like during the 2014 General Assembly Elections which came out to be whooping 66%+. This was because people themselves wanted to participate in creating a change and not because they were forced to.

Going back to our roots, our freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Dada Dharmadhikari etc. claimed that voting is a right for the people to express themselves and select their own representatives. This means that as and when they don’t feel satisfied with what they see, there is no compulsion for them to go out and caste their opinion. Thus, instead of bulls, the government as well as the Election Commission of India should figure out another method of motivating the voters to come out instead of laying back, to develop a more proactive approach. Some have suggested NOTA (None of the above) but this raises a whole debate of what happens if NOTA is in majority and not a candidate?

There are a lot of questions that the government needs to answer in order to make the voting system more efficient and on the same path, develop models to do so but compulsory voting, definitely does not seem like a good fit for India.


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Blockchain to Support User Voting on the Fight to Fame Show

Know everything about blockchain and how user voting works in a fight to fame show

Blockchain is vital for added transparency, and Fight to Fame will be using this technology for its voting system. Pixabay

At some point in our lives, you’ve probably voted for our favorite contestant in some competition or reality show. While not necessarily understanding how the voting system works, you still voted anyway because the idea of supporting that person was your top priority.

Fast forward to the present, a lot of anomalies have risen about voting systems being controlled by producers and not really being presented the honest results. Today, at the back of the viewers’ minds, there’s this constant doubt that the results may be rigged by politics in the show.

Lucky for us, blockchain technology has a way to counter that. Blockchain is vital for added transparency, and Fight to Fame will be using this technology for its voting system. 

Vote blockchain
We’ve all voted for our favourite contestant on some reality show and the blockchain technology helps us understand how these voting systems work. Pixabay

How Blockchain Works

Being a relatively new concept to the world, a lot of people still don’t understand how blockchain technology really works. Most people have probably heard about cryptocurrencies, more specifically the ever-popular Bitcoin – which we can credit much of blockchain’s fame to.

While it’s the more popular application, cryptocurrencies are just a form of how blockchain can be used and there are still other applications that prove to be useful for several industries. A lot of developers are looking for applications that might be breakthroughs for their industry.

Ever since it was first released years ago, blockchain technology has always instilled the notion that it promotes trust and transparency among its users. These are two issues that have long plagued several industries – including the entertainment industry. 

With blockchain, there’s a guarantee that these issues won’t ever surface. In the simplest sense, the technology itself is a digital ledger – which is a chain and not central storage – that relies on peer-to-peer verification, processing, and recording. Whatever the transaction is, it can exist in millions of nodes that won’t easily be erased nor corrupted. Compared to previous technology, blockchain banks on the idea that there’s never central storage of information but millions which make it incredibly transparent to those who are part of the chain. 

Given the importance of transparency for blockchain technology, it’s quite understandable how big industries – financial institutions – are looking into how they can incorporate it into their systems. This is just one of its many applications, but it’s already been changing how the game is played for several industries. Who knows what other revolutionary applications it’ll bring to the world in the future. 

Blockchain technology
Given the importance of transparency for blockchain technology, it’s quite understandable how big industries – financial institutions – are looking into how they can incorporate it into their systems.

Blockchain Applied to the Fight to Fame Show

Reality shows, over the years, have cultivated skepticism about their voting systems. Voting frauds have been exposed and people are now doubtful about how these systems actually work.

Of course, viewers won’t really know the real results unless they investigate them but what the show’s production chooses to show is basically what the public gets. So if the results were rigged, viewers won’t really know, right?

As discussed in the previous section, blockchain technology guarantees the kind of transparency viewers are looking from reality shows. With the show’s unique business model that banks on blockchain technology to support several functions, gaining trust won’t be a problem. 

Being a reality show, viewers can buy Fight to Fame Action Star Championship Series cards, the show’s very own cryptocurrency, to support their favorite candidates. The show’s tokens give viewers VIP access to exclusive events and will let them place their bets on their favorite contestants without really worrying if their money will go to waste or not.

Unlike other reality shows, the decentralized voting system uses blockchain technology, through its cryptocurrency, to innately promote transparency. This technology is extremely difficult to rig which is why voters can guarantee that the results they see are the real results. As a show that gives the average person a chance to stardom, this transparency is indeed vital to holding the public’s interest. During crucial assessment episodes, the public will be at the edge of their seats, voting for their bet. 

Knowing that there’s no way the voting system can be rigged will have people working twice as hard to guarantee that their bet will win which makes the public even more invested in the show. This kind of engagement will not only propel the show’s popularity, but also the contestants’. 

Also Read- 10 Stunning Gadgets to Look Forward to This Year

At the end of the day, blockchain technology’s use in this show isn’t just useful for its producers, but also for both the viewers and the contestants. Who doesn’t want to witness a fairly played competition?