The announcement last month that it would be possible to cast an early ballot at McDonald’s touched off a heated debate. I felt the discussion became over-simplified, and I would like to contribute by calling on councils to welcome the offer.
In the most recent local and regional elections, the voter turnout was only 65.8 percent, the lowest in 35 years. Ahead of the November 19 election, a number of councils will be operating mobile polling stations that will visit various neighbourhoods and public institutions where the residents and members are under-represented in the voting statistics.
McDonald’s is showing that it is engaged in the community. Ahead of the election, it will run information campaigns at its restaurants and hold debates between candidates for local council. In Copenhagen, three restaurants will be visited by the mobile polling stations. It’s not important where the electoral activity will be happening; what’s important is that it is happening, and that it is making people more aware of democracy and participation in the democratic process.
Given the low voter turnout in 2009, we (the members of Radikale) feel that people ought to be concerned that lawmakers will accurately represent the population’s ideas and values. To make up for the low turnout, we need to find new ways to involve people. We need to remind each other that the choices we make as voters have an impact on our own lives and for society as a whole. We need to work to ensure that everyone feels they are included in our extended community, and we need to make sure that everyone knows that all values and voices are important for our community.
In a representative democracy, voter turnout shouldn’t become a political issue. It is a democratic issue. Whether we practise our democratic rights in McDonald’s or in parliament doesn’t matter, as long as we practise them somewhere.