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Suggestions to combat vote buying


MICHAEL RAY

Suggestions to combat vote buying

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Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. – John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), sixth president of the United States

I’m tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn’t work. Of course it doesn’t work. We are supposed to work it. – Alexander Woollcott (1887-1943), American essayist, playwright, drama critic, commentator

THREE CONCERNED CITIZENS have stated their position as the debate continues.

So far it seems as if empirical evidence of the buying and selling of votes does not exist, owing to the illegitimacy and clandestine manner of the activity.

There is also a lack of reliable information as to who provides campaign funds and the quantum, although the motives for such funding are not difficult to comprehend.

However, reports from various sources have been made about the movement and distribution of items such as hams, stoves, fridges and washing machines just prior to, or on polling day.

Whether or not there is a solution to the buying and selling of votes, there are a number of things that must happen:

1. Legislation should be in place for the names of donors, recipients and the amount of campaign funds be declared and made public.

2. Legislation already in place must be enforced mandating that campaign expenses be declared by all candidates and made public.

3. Legislation should be in place mandating prospective candidates to declare their assets prior to elections and made public.

4. Legislation should be in place mandating that the assets of all people demitting political office must be declared and made public.

5. The establishment by legislation of a “people’s forum” in each constituency (not party constituency branches) to screen and scrutinise prospective candidates interested in representing the people.

6. The compilation and publication of a “people’s manifesto” by each people’s forum

outlining the people’s expectations.

The above items can go a long way in helping to deepen and strengthen our fragile democracy.

– MICHAEL RAY

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