Note: this article treats mainly political abstention
The abstention during a popular consultation (election or Referendum), is a practice which consists in not taking part in the exercise of the right of Suffrage whereas one is registered (or not) on the electoral rolls. The people who abstained from are called abstentionnists. The people who voted white or no one are generally not regarded as abstentionnists but the result is identical: their choice is not taken into account.
Calculation of the rate of abstentionThe rate of abstention is the percentage of people, registered on the electoral rolls, and which voted for no registered candidate or any proposal of the referendum.
For the political elections in France, the inscription on the electoral rolls is a right and it is theoretically obligatory (L9 article of the Electoral code). It is not however envisaged any sanction for not registered people, if is not that they can neither vote, nor to take part in the public life while being presented on the electoral rolls.
With the the United States, the abstention is calculated compared to all the potential voters and not only compared to the registered voters on the electoral rolls, as it is the case in France.
Regulations of the public electionsThe abstentionism, from a legal point of view, does not have recognition on the result of an open vote. Certain countries thought of changing to them Constitution in the event of very high abstention (the rates of 70% or 80% were evoked) with major elections, like the legislative , but never these bills did not succeed.
Possible reasonsThe reasons of the abstention can be multiple, that is to say:
- the voter forgot to vote
- the voter does not want to vote
- the voter is not registered on the electoral roll associated with its residence
- the voter did not think or refused the Vote by procuration
- the voter does not wish to choose new political authorities, by some means that it is
- the voter lets the others choose in its place
- the voter does not wish to choose elected officials, considering that they will not be obstructed, by the acquired capacity, to decide to its living conditions without its agreement
- the voter does not feel not concerned with the election
- the voter thinks that its vote is not important
- the voter wants to sanction the leaders in place or the political officials in general by showing to his disinterest of the political life
- the voter does not want to take part in an election that he considers unjust
- the voter does not want to legitimate a Political system which he refuses (the anarchistic organizations in particular and communist revolutionary very often call with the abstention)
- the voter does not have confidence in the vote or the voting system (electronic machine)
To fight the abstentionPolitical democracies or groupings often try to find solutions in order to avoid the abstentionism, which is often rather strong in the democratic countries.
One of the solutions evoked on Usenet is the negative vote. Either at the same time as a normal vote, or as a voter/indicating for that which one does not want, that which has less voice gains.
Another method is to make the vote obligatory. This solution seems effective in Belgium. It enables him to have one of the rates of abstention among low from Europe (approximately 9% for the European Élections of 2004, whereas the average of the European Union is of 44%). There is financial sanction in the event of abstention. The obligation was adopted thereafter in many countries: Luxembourg, Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Greece, in Austria, in certain Swiss cantons, but also out of Europe: Australia, Turkey, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentinian. The blank votes are entered and given to the party which will have had the majority, which increases its result. The obligation of the vote strongly reduces the rate of abstention, however this institution remains extremely discussed. Its opponents reproach him for not taking into account the reasons pushing the voters with the abstention. That, its partisans answer that they can make use of the blank vote and that they can register on the bulletins what they think of the parties or the personalities in place, that is done already by many people.
Other methods exist, like explaining the work of the political institutions, so as to better do to include/understand the reasons for which to vote is important, or to openly discuss points of sights which separate the various political parties. In the methods so that people get information better, the system of vote by weighting, by classification of the candidates, is often proposed, in particular the Méthode of election Condorcet.
Another method suggested would be to really give the capacity to the populations in the policy options of their life, by the means of the imperative Mandatement rather than by the majority representation (which does not give finally any capacity to the individuals, only the political intermediaries having a decision-making power, once elected). The solution with the advantage of returning the capacity to the population which can itself car-be thus determined. But in France, the mandatement imperative one is regarded as null by the Constitution of Ve République.
The abstention like political actThe abstentionism is a political act for people considering that the representative/parliamentary mode current is not sufficient to answer the voices of each individual composing the company, and proposes this political act of refusal of the voting not to guarantee this unjust system. In general, the political militants of the abstentionism call that Abstention activates, this to dissociate passive abstentionnists… These abstentionnists in general propose other policy operating processes of the company such as the imperative Mandatement.
The abstention todayIt is generally in the well established Démocratie S, that one finds high rates of abstention. In the majority of the countries which do not know democratic elections, people wish to be able to elect their representatives.
See also: Abstention in France
In France, the vote is obligatory only for the senatorial elections by the Great Electors (general advisers, regional, municipal, and appointed) who see themselves in the event of abstention, to impose a fine symbolic system of 4,58 €.
Abstention from heirIt is when the heir designated in a will, wants that the heritage is allocated to the heir-at-law. Certain associations are designated as single heir to a fortune.
Abstention from placeIt is a punishment which is inflicted with an offensive person, with going on the spot where it had offended these people
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