Election 101: Why Do We Vote?

April 20, 2022

At the risk of stating the obvious, let me start by saying that the Philippines is currently at a tipping point.

 

Two obvious reasons: One, we are about to elect the next leaders of our country who will lead us in the coming six years. And two, the elected will play a very crucial role in guiding our nation towards post-pandemic recovery.

 

With millions of lives and the future of our nation at stake, the election should be more than just a game of numbers and popularity.

 

As cliché as it sounds, I can never overemphasize the fact that your vote matters. Not just because it is your individual right to vote—but because your vote can represent the tiny voices of the weak, the oppressed, the poor, and the less privileged.

 

Let me expound on that.

  

1. Voting is a right.

 

The right to suffrage, or vote, is a fundamental right of every citizen in any democratic nation. In the Philippines, this is clearly enshrined in and protected by the Constitution, the highest law of the land:

  

Because the Philippines is a democracy, it is a government of the people, for the people, and by the people. As the Constitution affirms, “Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”

 

Hence, for us, voting is more than just a privilege but a right—a right to take part in public affairs, a right to participate in policy-making, and a right to elect leaders who will govern our institutions, and a right to secure our future.

 

So, exercise your right to vote.

 

For qualified voters, abstention from voting is a forfeiture of this essential right as a citizen. Our heroes, forefathers, and the framers of our Constitution labored so hard so we can have the power to elect our own leaders. Let’s honor their sacrifice by exercising our right to vote—and by exercising it wisely and responsibly.

 

 

2. Voting is a civic duty.

 

The strength and success of a democracy depend on the level of people’s participation. 

 

This coming election, your vote is your voice. Voting is your direct participation towards a successful democracy. The ballot you will cast is your personal stake in our nation’s future. By doing so, you are locking arms with the entire Filipino nation as we fight for a better government and a brighter future.

 

Consider the following:

 

Data from the Philippine Statistics Office show that in December 2021, there are around 3.27 million jobless Filipinos.

 

Moreover, the country’s economy significantly shrank in 2021 because of the pandemic. At the same time, the country’s inflation rate is expected to climb as oil prices continue to rise.

 

Our public health and medical industries also sustained critical blows during the pandemic as frontline health workers died in their line of duty. Meanwhile, the government’s health insurer, PhilHealth, has sounded the alarm as it fears running bankrupt due to lack of funds, ballooning costs, and corruption allegations.

 

The next administration will face tremendous challenges. The result of our collective votes will be the starting point of our future. It will determine whether we will be able to quickly recover from the crises that we’re in, or if we will sustain more wounds because of ill-conceived policies and tone-deaf policymaking.

 

Hence, the fulfillment of our civic duty isn’t measured by simply casting our ballots. It is in the way we conscientiously, prayerfully, and wisely choose our candidates because our votes carry so much weight.

 

 

3. Voting is a moral obligation.

 

To those of us who have it better in life, we may think that the result of the election won’t affect us so much. After all, people say, “Pare-pareho lang naman sila. Kahit sino’ng maupo sa pwesto, mahirap pa rin ang Pilipinas. Kanya-kanyang kayod pa rin tayo. Magsipag ka lang para umunlad ang buhay mo.”

 

This may be true for some, but not for all.

 

Not all of us can simply move on from the result of the elections. For the less-privileged and the marginalized, the result of the election could be a matter of life and death. Think about:

  • The indigenous people who are fighting for their homes.

  • The farmers who badly need government aid in the form of budget and sound policy.

  • The urban poor who are desperate to put food on the table and can’t improve their lives no matter how hard they work.

  • Those who are sick and dying in the hospitals, hoping and waiting for government support to access much-needed treatment or medicine.

  

Your vote is your voice. Use your voice to speak for those who can’t, and to defend the rights of the poor and the powerless. (Proverbs 31:9)

 

You may only have a single vote, but that single vote gives you power to influence the outcome of the election.

 

 

4. Voting is a spiritual exercise.

 

More than just a civic duty, voting is a spiritual exercise. Our voice matters not just because we have the right to express our thoughts, but more importantly because we know that God is speaking to the world through us. We are His voice, His ambassadors through whom He makes His appeal to the world. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

 

Voting is an exercise of our faith and convictions. Hence, we elect leaders not just because of our personal preferences or by what we think we can gain. As Christians, our choice of leaders must mirror the values and convictions that Jesus taught us.

 

Through our votes, we are partnering with God in His mission of redeeming the world. As citizens of His kingdom, we vote for leaders who will best represent God and His rule, a kingdom characterized by righteousness and justice. (Psalm 89:14)

 

As we vote on May 9, may we be guided by the right values and principles in choosing our leaders.

 

But, no matter who gets elected, we are commanded to pray for our leaders, for their success will also be our success as a nation. Ultimately, our faith is in our Sovereign God who changes times and seasons, removes and sets up kings, and gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. (Daniel 2:21)

 

Cast your vote in faith, knowing that whoever wins the election, God will remain to be the sovereign Ruler who appoints and removes leaders to accomplish His divine purpose.

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