Voter apathy a major concern on Bajor

Voter apathy a major concern on Bajor

BAJOR — A poll of eligible voters on Bajor this week has shown that nearly three in every five Bajorans do not plan to vote in this year’s presidential election.

Voter intention by Bajoran province

Voter intention by Bajoran province

Consistent responses across all eighteen provinces indicate the majority of Bajorans view the upcoming election, which will determine Nan Bacco’s successor as Federation president, as an issue of relatively little importance. In Jerad and Tozhat provinces, only 51 percent plan to vote (the highest proportion planetwide), while in Kendra Province, an overwhelming 71 percent intend to stay home on election day.

The poll was taken in the aftermath of the Berengeria caucus, during which the five major candidates met with journalists and voters, explained their major policy goals, and outlined their strategic plans for the Federation. Since the close of the caucus, everyone from interest groups to bookmakers has been anxious for early predictions about the result. Everyone except, it may seem, the Bajorans.

“I watched several of the debates,” said Gorna Zehesh, a katterpod farmer from Rakantha Province, “but I wasn’t very impressed with the candidates who participated.”

Similar statements were made by poll respondents across the planet. Many also expressed frustration with a perceived decrease in the strategic importance of Bajor in the Federation.

“We were the most important planet in the galaxy at one point not so very long ago,” said Yirduk Pim, a member of the Council of Ministers, “but in the four years since we joined the Federation, our influence has diminished considerably.”

While stopping short of saying so explicitly, Minister Yirduk also implied that were there a Bajoran among the field of candidates, interest in the election might be higher: “I think the prevailing opinion amongst Bajorans is that there is no current candidate to which we can relate.”

79 percent of Bajorans do not prefer any of the five major candidates.

79 percent of Bajorans do not prefer any of the five major candidates.

Indeed, the Bajoran poll showed low support for all five major candidates. Kevin Steiner leads with 9 percent, with newcomer Anari Kthria in second place on 5 percent. Adellia Vor and Narala share third place on 3 percent each, while Lily Ventu is last on 1 percent.

“Councillor Steiner spoke strongly in favor of Bajor’s entry into the Federation, despite the difficult circumstances surrounding our accession,” said Seermi Aleya, professor of Contemporary Studies at the University of Bajor. “Out of all the candidates, he enjoys the highest name recognition on Bajor.”

Dr. Keahvon of the Cerberus Group, an Earth-based think tank, concurs: “The Bajorans have not forgotten the Occupation, or the Dominion War. A candidate who commits to a continued Starfleet security presence in the Bajoran sector will likely win the support of the government.

“As for the Bajoran people,” he continued, “that’s less easy to predict.”

Over 22 percent of Bajorans named a non-candidate as preferred president, while nearly 57 percent expressed no preference whatsoever. Analysts worry that the threat of low turnout on Bajor may be mirrored on other planets.

“Low turnout on only one planet is not a mathematical concern,” said Professor Ograx of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Betazed. “But voter apathy on a larger scale is dangerous for democracy, because it increases the likelihood that the result will not be viewed as a legitimate expression of the will of the people, and the election of candidates with only minority support furthers people’s frustration and reluctance to vote.”

The Bajoran poll is only the first planetwide poll to have been published since the close of the Berengeria caucus, but political analysts, and the candidates themselves, will be watching to see if voter sentiment on Bajor is a unique phenomenon, or part of a larger problem.

Profile photo of Nash Blaxland

About Nash Blaxland

Nash Blaxland is a human journalist with a career spanning over 20 years. A graduate of the University of Tasmania and the University of Alpha Centauri, Blaxland is a fifth-generation journalist and has been a correspondent for the Federation News Service since 2392, based from both Earth and StarBase 118.

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