The long weekend to travel home to vote.

@thea09 (18327)
Greece
September 26, 2009 8:37am CST
This will begin on Friday 2nd October and most of Greece will close down to allow the citizens of Greece to travel home to the villages of their childhood to vote in the coming National election. The election itself takes place on Sunday 4th. Voting is obligatory for those over 18 ensuring a more active participation in the electoral process. What do you think about this method and its benefits or disadvantages to the voter?
2 people like this
12 responses
@stvasile (7317)
• Romania
26 Sep 09
I am against compulsory vote. I think voting should be a right, not an obligation. Was it like this always in Greece? I'm asking because they are considering making such a law in Romania too. The reason is quite simple: the people are sick and tired of voting a party or another and seeing the winning party do nothing for the people. As the winning parties try and steal from the budget as much as possible, and as all parties do that once they have the power, most of the citizens consider it is a huge waste of time to go and vote. That is why you see an average 30% percentage of voters on local, Parliament or presidential elections. So our caring leaders are considering issuing a law to force the people to vote. I think you didn't presented things how they really are... Are the people of Greece forced to go and vote in their home villages and towns? Or they have to vote in the locality written as address on their ID cards? Because it's a small difference - you can be raised in a village but established in a city - that way you don't have to come in your natal village, you must vote where your address is. And also, is this trip needed when voting for the Parliament or also for the president? I understand this need of making the people vote in their home towns for the Parliament, as the Parliament members represent more areas of the country and must be voted by the people living in the respective areas, but I think it would be pointless when voting for the president - after all, it's the same list of candidates in all the regions. I'm glad we are not forced by the law to vote, and I hope this situation won't change. This "all for the political leaders and nothing for the people" policy needs to stop...
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
26 Sep 09
Hi stvasile, yes it's always been like this here which is why no one has a problem with it. When the first democracy in the world was estalished here then voting rights were given to certain groups, obviously no women, slave,men under 30 etc and at some time in the times of ancient Greece it did become compulsory to vote. But here they would vote anyway as passionate about their politics even though most of them will know that they will vote in exactly the same way as their forefathers. There is little difference between the two main parties but it can be personally advantagous to be on the winning side. I remember a few years back when Pasok lost power a local Greek friend who had been active in the campaign was practically in tears as the opposing party had won which more or less meant he would be unable to get any of his schemes approved for the term of the next government as he was now no longer in with the right people. Re the travelling back to the villages it is true for the majority of people who still have a family home in the original area, I am not sure what happens with those who have no original village left. But certainly if they own land or property in the original area that is where they must vote. People do travel back to the islands from the mainland to cast their votes. The sick and infirm may do it on paper but if someone is fit enough to leave the house they are not going to give up the right to vote. The indifferent are allowed to spoil their ballot papers but the important thing is that they have shown up for the registration.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
26 Sep 09
Two parts as I recall losing one to you last night: I don't believe in a country like yours which is so disillusioned with corrupt politicians already that a compulsory system of voting would work, it is a system best grown up with as customary. Also in a country free from former communism it appears a bit too dictatorial. It's suprising though that after communism there are not more idealistic figures to follow rather than a bunch of crooks straight off. I don't think by not voting though that changes can be brought about in how the government acts as it basically just gives them the right to continue as by apathy no one is objecting. The only way forward politically would be for independant people to stand up to be voted for who believe that change is necessary.
1 person likes this
@stvasile (7317)
• Romania
26 Sep 09
It's been 20 years since the fall of the communist regime. The people were at first enthusiastic to be able to elect the leaders democratically, but vote after vote they realized all the politicians are the same, and the same faces get elected in the Parliament, or younger ones, bred by the former. An independent candidate, with a strong personality and a clean slate is yet to appear, and I agree that would be the only solution to at least buffer, if not end the current corruption, apathy and impotence from the politic life...
@ZephyrSun (7385)
• United States
27 Sep 09
That's very interesting, I mean in the US when you move you register to vote in your new area. When I moved my new polling station is less than 100 feet away, it's much nicer than when I was in the country and had to drive several miles away to vote. Your country's voting process seems like it would be a little hard for some voters, like, what happens if one is too old or too sick to travel?
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
27 Sep 09
Hi Zeph, well they don't expect you to get out of bed if you're too sick, they'll come round and call on you. Greek and too old too vote don't really go togther but again they would call round and let one vote on paper. The old people don't need to travel as everyone returns to their villages when they are old and retired, where the family home and olive trees are. Perhaps your system is computerised allowing one to vote in a new area. Here people have to travel back from the mainland to the islands which is why the long weekend is given but the traffic will indeed be hellish on the roads next Sunday. It is traditional though and the difference here is that people do want to vote and there is no apathy regarding politics.
@mysdianait (64438)
• Italy
27 Sep 09
It's the same in Italy. When you change your location your right of vote moves along with you.
@ZephyrSun (7385)
• United States
27 Sep 09
So thea is mostly just an excuse for a long weekend? Here, we have so many ways to vote, vote by mail, some areas vote on paper ballots, some use touchscreen, so use this huge machine that creates a paper ballot, those machines are the ones that made the famous "hanging chads" in Florida that allowed Bush to win the election LOL
@kitty42 (3912)
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello my friend i like that idea just shows how great things work in greece I love reading your discussions about your home, really feels good hearing how things are done else where, city life stinks (oops) did I write that lol Thanks for sharing this.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
26 Sep 09
Hi Kitty, glad to hear you like to hear how things are done in a different way. And in many instances here of course no travel is involved just as it wouldn't be for a born and bred New Yorker. We also don't have to endure endless long campaigns costing total fortunes like you do in the States.
@kitty42 (3912)
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello my friend Seems to be much better , here they make things so complicated what a pain. Thank you.
1 person likes this
@JamesKYTan (1607)
• Malaysia
29 Sep 09
This means there will be a lot of traffic travelling from the city to their hometowns this Friday. And the traffic back again to the city after the national polling. Does the Government provide any travelling allowances for those who travels. Wow, you all can vote much earlier age compared to Malaysian. How is the ambience there over in Greece. In Malaysia, you can see all the posters and flags of all the parties there..
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
29 Sep 09
Hi James, it's actually all appearing to be very low key this time, but that could be because the current prime minister called an election only two years after the last one and two years before he needed to. I never asked about a travelling allowance but I shouldn't think so, I've never heard of one, and Greeks are used to travelling back and forth to their villages a lot anyway as they have property and land back there. The roads indeed will be packed this weekend with a mass exodus from Athens. So what is the voting age in Malaysia and are women allowed to vote there too?
@Hatley (164448)
• Garden Grove, California
26 Sep 09
thea I think that idea is just wonderful as it would' make our people here in the US less apathetic to going to vote.maybe then all those people who now dont vote'but lament the choice we voters made will be forced to put' in their own two cents. I would love it myself as it'would make those who scold about everything political have to take account of how they themselves voted. think it is' a really good idea.
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@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
26 Sep 09
Hi Hatley, I'm glad to hear some approval for this system. The funny thing is that people do actually want to vote here and would make more of a scene if they couldn't than if made to. The ones who don't want to cast a vote for any of the parties have the right to spoil their own ballot paper as long as they have turned up to do it. There is no apathy about politics here even though the two main parties are both useless and always close in the polls. So a four day weekend to look forward to next week.
@pergammano (7755)
• Canada
26 Sep 09
Good Saturday, thea.....I may ramble this morning, as my son got home @10:45 last nite, we started chatting, next thing we knew it as 1:45, and my alarm goes off at 3:30, work at 4:30....thank goodness, last weekend for that nonsense!I think I have left my political musings in the past! I shall have to make an attempt to re-vigorize myself!Mixed emotions about mandatory voting, only because it would be disaster here, as oft, you would be voting for the "devil you don't know!" But flip the coin, and often I think it should be compulsory, especially when I chat with veterans, the ones still vertical, and truly listen to how they gave live & limb for us to have this priviledge! (that shud read life & limb!) And truly get irked, by people like my Neighbours (whom I love) do not vote...but complain about the encumbent government! Some of our local elections, sorta like Municipal, would have been won or tied, with their 2 votes. Have a great weekend, thea...and I may take 'til Tuesday to reply, as my son & I have a pretty heavy schedule planned for the next few Days! Keep charming, one & all with that lovely smile. Cheers!
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@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
26 Sep 09
Good morning Shirley, I thought it was your cold getting you up so early each day not work. Put your feet up and let your son pamper you for a bit. This one wasn't really political more of a case of getting to the voting station which is a pretty amusing thing to see, as everyone and his donkey tries to tell you which way to vote but that's not as important in a national election whereas a local election things can be gained by being on the right side. My koubara fell out with one of her customers must be 3 years ago now and they haven't spoken a word since to each other although pass daily - argument about who she was telling him to vote for when he already knew he was voting the other way. I agree with you though that people shouldn't complain about the politcos if they can't be bothered to vote. Now have a good long weekend with your son and enjoy the boat, don't even think about replying. Say hello to DJ, Hugs thea
@mysdianait (64438)
• Italy
27 Sep 09
Hi Thea! I saw this notifier yesterday but I have oly just managed to get here. When I first saw it I was a little astonished by the fact that it is compulsory to vote. What happens if people do not go and vote? Also the fact they have tomove location too. How can doctors and nurses and the like leave their job and go? The expense too Makes voting sound like some sort of national celebration though Here everyone has the right to vote once they are of age at 18 but it is not compulsory. They vote in the town they live and if they move their right to vote moves with them and is added to the list of names in the town they move to.
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
27 Sep 09
Hi Mys, saw this by chance, alerts on the blink again. Not going to vote is not on at all and punishments will be meted out, possible arrest is one punishment or some funds due withheld. The doctors and nurses don't seem to have a problem leaving things when they go on strike and don't forget that distances are not too great for Greeks who think nothing of travelling back to their villages regularly. I'm not certain but think if one had totally moved area and did not retain any land in the original village area then one could be able to vote in their new location but if land is still held, which it is in most cases, then back they must go. I think the compulsory part works as it has always been that way and the Greeks are proud not to be apatheic about politics as so many countries are, and there would be much more fuss made if for some reason they weren't allowed to vote rather than being expected to vote. Anyway it should be huge fun on the roads next Sunday.
@mysdianait (64438)
• Italy
27 Sep 09
It's me on the blink again not the notifiers I am not keen on the idea of being finded if I don't vote. Here it is a crime to mess with the voting papers. If you are caught scribbling on them then that is punishable. Yuo can leave them blank though - and that is becoming a bigger thing of late. People go to vote and choose not to vote for any of the politacal groups on the list rather than making a decision
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
27 Sep 09
Now you've confused me totally Mys. Why would Italians go to vote and not vote if it isn't compulsory to vote? And what is the punishment there for defacing a ballot paper?
@malpoa (1218)
• India
27 Sep 09
Oh voting is mandatory there, here it isnot. Though the minimum voting age is 18, many do not vote..The system here is too corrupted.Here in west bengal the left front ie the marxist has been ruling for the last 35 years, and that is when we have more number of parties than people here (a bit exaggerated hi hi)..I havent voted yet, I might vote once in my life time to know how it is like...I dont think the people going to occupy the important chairs will be responsible for their posts or more loyal to the duty and that is the only reason I dont vote..Our president who is supposed to have no links with any political party is pulling all threads to get a seat for her son!!! I lost intreset in that lady too... But why would you travel to vote? cant you vote from where you stay? Here we can do so...
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
27 Sep 09
Hi malpoa, so why is it not a suprise that the system there is also corrupted, but that just makes your country pretty average as far as politics is concerned. I'm beginning to get the idea that the only thing in India not corrupted is the recipe for those milk based sweets you so like to indulge in. Here's an idea though, get your brother in law to become a political party, might keep him out of the house more. And a bit of nepotism going on too to add a bit of flavour to the pot, now that one is rife over here, the current incumbents employ and promote their relatives all the time. They travel to vote as it is traditional and the voting system isn't computerised, plus it gives everyone a nice long weekend, unless one is coming in from the islands with inevitable packed ferries the distances here are small compared to the distance you would need to travel.
@malpoa (1218)
• India
29 Sep 09
Wow you get to meet friends and relatives plus gorge on the goodies they bring...nice and you get a day off on election day so that makes a very pleasant weekend...I hope it went smoothly and u enjoyed it to the max.
@malpoa (1218)
• India
29 Sep 09
and about the sweets, I dont know whether they use pure milk for that...coz only recently i found out that the paneer (cottage cheese) they sell isnt made of milk but milk powder (ofcourse the milk powder isnt made from milk but peanut and things like that)...I was very dissapointed that day :((
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
26 Sep 09
an interesting process. is voting really mandatory? what if someone doesn't vote? i don't think traveling all the way to vote might be a good idea. here we have an option to register on voters list of the place of current residence. but since it is a cumbersome process, not voting is a better idea. voting is not mandatory here and if your country's laws are implemented here people would start demanding traveling allowances to vote...
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
26 Sep 09
Hi sunny, I wouldn't imagine that our voting laws would go down well if suddenly introduced into a country not used to that style but here mandatory voting has been around since ancient Greek times and everyone accepts it. They want everyone to vote and not be apathetic about it but believe me the Greeks are crazy to vote so there isn't much complaining going on. I'm sure that if a person has no village ties left they must be able to register in the place where they have settled but most are used to travelling back to their home village regularly where the older family members will have remained.
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
28 Sep 09
some time back there was an attempt to discuss making voting compulsory here. some activists demanded that in such case they should also have the right to abstain. also that if 'abstained' got maximum voted, then there will be no representative from that area. the politicians were scared with that idea..so it was dropped...
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
28 Sep 09
I think that's an excellent idea but then again who would there be to bribe if their was no one representing the area. No wait, that would be a good thing,
@SomeCowgirl (32266)
• United States
2 Oct 09
In The Usa we don't have to travel home, we just go to the district we are assigned once we move in to where we we reside. I think that making voting obligatory is a good idea in that it will help a lot to make the votes count, but then again those feeling forced to vote may just "vote" without having real knowledge of the candidates and what they have to offer.
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
2 Oct 09
Hi SomeCowgirl, reading of the numbers who do vote over the pond then some kind of measure to make more people vote would be handy I would think. There isn't apathy about politics here, the Greeks are crazy to vote and argue constatly about politics and vote for the party which will have the most benefit for them personally, especailly in local elections. They can spoil the ballot paper if they don't want to give their vote to any who stand.
@Iriene88 (5352)
• Malaysia
29 Sep 09
Dear Thea, Have you decided who and which party will gain your vote? In Malaysia, we had out last polling nationwide on 8th March 2008. It is quite meaningful and change the whole political landscape here. For the first time 5 states which previously belong to the current Government lost out to opposition. The Government will pay allowance about RM100-200 for those in the city to go back hometown to vote. Most of them who received this token will vote for the Government / the party that paid those travelling allowances. However, surprisingly, last year, even though they paid those allowances, many has vote differently. All this has change so much because of new voters who are now more educated and well informed by blogs, internet, emails and sms. In Malaysia, only at the age of 21, we can vote! I think it has its advantages and disadvantages on going back to the hometown to vote. However many do change their place of voting... Thanks and all the best. May the good political party that care for the people 'REIGN'
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
2 Oct 09
Hi Iriene, they vote for the party which pays their travel allowances - what a good idea. I expect though it was good to see a few changes in Malayasia as it always wakes up the present incumbents a bit. Here we don't have much of a choice as the two main parties don't really have much between them but I prefer the ones which are currently out to the ones that are currently in.
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
26 Sep 09
I think it's a good thing to let people go to their native village and have the opportunity to vote or some would never get the chance....it's very insighful of your government to do this!
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
26 Sep 09
Hi jillhill, well the system here has been going on for centuries so it obviously works in the way people don't complain about voting but expect to do it as their right. Plus they get an extra two days off work. The majority of the ones who will come back to the local villages here to vote will come down from Athens so it's only the normal four hour drive they'd often make for various holidays anyway.