Martina Horváthová: Freely casting your ballot is your right - and nobody elses business!
I vote regularly in every election. If I ever were to not vote, I would feel pangs of conscience for having neglected my duty as a citizen.
That sounds a bit idealistic, I know, maybe even a bit "nerdy". Let it sound that way!
If I am part of something, then I feel a responsibility for that "something" to function - it's just how I am. In the case of citizenship, the least I can do is to sacrifice 10 minutes at the polls casting my envelope with my vote into the ballot box.
Just as it would bother me not to cast my ballot, it would also bother me to give my decision about whom to vote for to somebody else. Moreover, during the last few elections I have been rather disappointed that my favorite candidates lost.
My vote was counted, though. My vote was counted in favor of those whom I believed should win.
I had the opportunity to express my opinion - and I took advantage of it. I am glad we live at a time when we can vote freely.
Nobody today dictates to us whom we may vote for and whom we may not. If you know somebody in your area who is doing that, telling you that if you don't vote for a certain candidate or party that he or she will evict you, or fire you, or is threatening you with anything else, or if anybody offers you some money in exchange for casting your vote in a particular candidate's favor, or if they promise you a gift or anything else, then that person is breaking the law!
The polling place is arranged so that nobody else has the slightest opportunity to see whom you have cast your ballot for. That means nobody can ever find out what your vote was.
If you do not know whom you should vote for, then start taking an interest in who is running in your municipality. Usually you can find that out from the candidates' fliers, posters or websites, but the very best way to find out is to go to an event where you can personally meet the candidates and ask them directly what they are planning to do for their fellow citizens.
By 2 October at the latest you will receive a full overview of all the candidates, mailed to the address of your permanent residence - the ballots for all the political parties, movements, associations as well as independent candidates - who want to be come assembly members in your municipality. You do not need that overview to go to the polls, though - you will be given ballots there to choose the candidates once you are in the voting booth.
We Roma have the right to vote, but unfortunately, many of us do not know what to do with it. By not participating in the elections, we are abandoning any responsibility for who will be chosen.
The excuses for not voting are always the same: "Nothing will change anyway", "I won't vote for those kinds of people", "What will I get out of it?", "They won't do anything for us anyway", etc. If they were to take our right to vote away, though, we would crave it and fight for it - of that I am sure!
Me džav! A so tu?
- Local Romani assembly member in Czech town seeks re-election, recommends running to others
- Robin Stria, 7th place candidate for the Greens, Brno-střed: The biggest problem in the Czech Republic is housing
- Lucie Fuková: There's no excuse for not voting
- Ján Bajger: Roma in the Czech Republic don't vote because they underestimate themselves
- Czech local elections see at least 150 Romani men and women running
- Czech local election campaign slogan: "Poison alone is not strong enough for these pests" - meaning Romani people
- Tomáš Ščuka: We may disagree with him, but Romani candidate for extremist party is entitled to his opinions
- Local Prague candidate seems to have given Nazi salute at demonstration, extremist party she is running for disavows her
- Independent Romani candidate collecting signatures to run for Czech Senate
- Martina Horváthová on building a network of Romani feminists in the Czech Republic
- Czech Supreme Court closes case of vote-buying at Romani housing estate, public interest of secret recording was key
- Commentary: "Zero tolerance" is back in North Bohemia, a "sure bet" for the Czech local elections
- Analysis: Publicly active Romani figures voted for Drahoš, the socially excluded voted for Zeman
- Czech Republic: "Middle class" Roma share photos on Facebook of themselves casting ballots in lower house election
- Jarmila Balážová: What does the stormy debate in the Czech Republic about the TV series featuring Romani performers show us?
- Vojtěch Lavička: Czech TV show featuring Romani guys in drag is low "humor" of the fifth-rate category
- Chair of the Czech Pirates: Let's not trip the Roma up, let's treat them with the dignity they deserve, as equals
- Czech ecumenical service sends wishes of good fortune and good health to Romani people on their day
- Zeljko Jovanovic: The New Roma Politics of Self-Determination and Unity
- Czech parliamentary committee overwhelmingly supports bill to compensate forcibly sterilized women
- Czech and Slovak youth have different attitudes toward minorities - Czechs are more LGBT-tolerant, Slovaks more tolerant of immigrants or Muslims
- LIVE BROADCAST: Elena Gorolová and European Commission Vice-President Jourová open international conference on anti-Roma racism
- Czech census official tells ROMEA TV all identifying information will be removed from census forms to guarantee anonymity
- Roma children electrocuted while playing in a Belgrade settlement
- Czech hospital refuses to examine young Romani man - by the time doctors agreed to see him, he died
- Romani youth including actor from "The Painted Bird" want to fundraise for Czech hospital treating serious COVID-19 cases