Voting, as a part of the democratic process, requires individuals to fulfill a right that is given to them to elect leaders who best represent them. This participatory form of government allows citizens to determine the future of their country. The power of the vote means that whatever course individuals finds best for a country is selected and this in turn determines the future of that nation. This very fact means that the vote that individuals carry is very important and that it should be treated with an equal regard but as long as the democratic process has existed, as long as one man’s voice has been given such importance, selfish interests have always assailed this right, undermining its honest and ideal consequences.
Such acts intend to diminish the value of voting, robbing people of their rights and corrupting a process that is meant to grant equality to all. In particular vote rigging and selling one’s vote especially undermine the democratic process and this very act has regrettably become quite widespread.
As a form of election fraud, vote selling and vote buying has been noted to occur one way or another in elections around the world. Numerous scholarly, journalistic and governmental reports have been written on the subject, highlighting the continuing scourge of vote selling and buying. In essence the act involves those who are running office offering money, favors or appointments in return for votes, regardless of the fact that whether the seller actually supports the candidate or not. Vast amount of money is often spent on gaining these illegal votes which not only undermines democracy but also negates the votes of those who vote honestly.
This phenomenon has been seen to happen in almost every country, with only the level of sophistication being different. In Pakistan, with the 2013 elections looming weeks away, electoral fraud is a spectre that may dog these upcoming elections but it is for the individual voters themselves to understand the importance of their own vote and realize that their votes do not have a price.
Media reports and word of mouth have often recounted stories of politicians and candidates paying off scores of voters in their constituencies, in effect bribing them to vote in their favour. of course what is often most alarming is that these votes are often bought quite cheaply, with people willing to sell their responsibility and duty for a motorcycle, or in other examples, a couple of thousands of rupees.
Of course it is difficult to stop or prevent such a practice because such deals are often made under the table but it is very importance for individuals to know that this right to vote that they possess is not something that comes with a price tag; it is far too important a matter to reduce to a simple monetary transaction. Each vote has profound implications on the country and regard it with such disdain, means that the country and its future matter very little to them but this ‘personal’ attitude has effects on us all.