The Institute of Society Studies (IES) executive director, Claudio Alvarado, stated this Sunday in Radio Cooperativa that the future Constitutional Convention should discuss the reinstatement of compulsory voting in Chile.
At the end of the first of the two days of the mega election, one of the data that drew the most attention - with broad concern - was the high voter turnout in the more affluent communes, in contrast with the situation in the less favored areas: as two examples, in Vitacura 41 percent of the electoral roll voted yesterday, and in La Pintana only 13 percent.
Chile: First Day of Elections Marked by Low Voter Turnout
"Since the country approved the voluntary vote, the ballot has been segmented socioeconomically in a quite progressive way. So, although this is quite marked today by yesterday's voting in certain communes, it is not very new news, which does not take away the seriousness of the point. Still, it does allow us to understand that the problem did not start yesterday," said Alvarado to El Diario de Cooperativa.
In fact, the Catholic University lawyer said that "for the October Plebiscite we already observed a similar phenomenon: not necessarily in the socioeconomic correlation, but with respect to the urban vote versus the rural vote. This was little commented, at least at the level of the mass media, but the truth is that the participation was quite low (in rural areas). So, now it is not surprising that we have another type of segmentation."
"The streets and the ballot boxes are spaces of struggle.
Let's go to vote and keep fighting, demonstrating, organizing, and raising awareness."
Other left-wing political and social leaders on social networks, asides from calling on all Chileans of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to mobilize the vote, similarly called for a return to obligatory voting to prevent a skewed result in favor of more advantaged sectors of society.
Alvarado said that he hopes "that today (at the end of the second day) the numbers (of participation in the different communes) will be a little closer, but in any case, here arises another challenge for the Constitutional Convention: the question of whether it is worth maintaining a voluntary voting regime that favors these dynamics, or whether we should not return, rather, to compulsory voting."
This second option "not only helps reduce the socioeconomic gap but also helps the leaders, the candidates, speak to the great majorities and not necessarily to the most specific niches," he said.