Not interested in politics? Too bad, because in that case your opinion has no impact.

In our democratic states, we vote for politicians who should safeguard our interests through a democratic policy making process (politics). We can choose between parties, which usually develop programmes they will try to implement, either in contrast to those of other parties, or together with coalition parties. In these programmes, the parties tell us which priorities they have, what issues they will work on and how they wish to achieve their goals.

Usually, the parties that carry the majority of votes will form the government and set a specific policy agenda. In doing so, they have to respect the will of other parties, if they need their consent to push through law proposals. But in general the ruling majority party always has the biggest impact.

In this democratic process, we, the citizens, have the task of advising politicians on what we would like them to achieve. They then need to find ways to implement what we want.

But is this what we’re doing? Not really. Instead of advising parties on our political will well ahead of elections, to enable them to incorporate it in their election program, many of us prefer not to go to the polls. Voter turnout has fallen drastically in recent decades. And this is bad. It’s bad for all of us.

What happens if we choose not to go to the polls? Our will is respected only to the extent that politicians anticipate that they represent our will. And laws will always be drafted and adopted. In this case, they will likely not always be beneficial for us.