It disturbs politicians and the politically connected that some people do not subscribe to the notion that politicians should be supreme rulers -this weakens the powers at be and undermines and demystifies politicians and their authority.
These are the ideas politicians and their friends fear and work hard at dismissing. Imagine what a scare for the politician if no one showed up election day. Politicians would lose the affirmation of somehow being superior along with the authority to tell us what to do and spend our money!
Indeed, low voter turnout can be interpreted as a sign of disenchantment with the political system and can potentially send a message. In fact academics never mention statistically you are more likely to die on the way to the polls than for your vote to be the pivotal vote in determining the election result.
According to the Downs paradox, named after Anthony Downs of the Public Choice school of economics, the costs of voting, which includes factors such as the time spent learning about each candidate, their positions and the potential implications of their policy recommendations exceeds the expected benefits of the single ballot cast for a rational, self-interested voter. The chances of an individual voter exercising the pivotal ballot in an otherwise tied election are miniscule, leading the rational, self-interested voter to abstain from the process altogether, particularly in a state that heavily leans toward a candidate from one of the two major parties.Therefore non-voters should not be ostracized for having something better to do election day.
Nota bene, political systems derive power not from the police and army but from "engineered consent" i.e. the willingness of those who are to be ruled and abused to consent to expropriation. In other words a percentage of the population must sanction being ruled by an inevitably corrupt elite class -red, yellow or green.
Even those on the low end of the totem pole who interpret a win for their preferred candidate to mean a greater likelihood of favourable hand-outs are losers in the long run since they have become mere pawns in a vicious vortex that only serves the political class and regrettably perpetuates a destructive dependency syndrome on the lower class.
Non-voters, rather than being ridiculed should be acknowledged for their healthy scepticism and negative feelings about politicians and state institutions that all say the same things, make the same promises but only serve the people to the extent it serves their political ambitions. On coming to this epiphany withdrawing ones consent and abstaining from an electoral gimmick is not an option to be frowned upon.
There remains a simple reason why politicians (red, yellow or green), academics, the media and other politically connected establishments aggressively promote voting as a citizen’s civic duty – it validates the need for their existence and tacitly justifies their power and rulership over the masses even to the country's ultimate detriment.
Especially now in the face of economic slow down the size, scope and role of the T&T government (now at 41 ministries) that promises to take care of everyone from cradle to grave must be dismantled.