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A voter's self-defence system

Simple guidelines to make you a better voter in this upcoming election.

The phones are ringing. Long-awaited laws are being passed. This could only mean one thing: An election run-up is on its way. It could be next month, it could be in 2022, but if one thing is for sure, it's that it’s coming. So, we recommend our readers prepare because this is a battle for supremacy between voter and candidate.

We have prepared a set of simple guidelines to help you go into this fight better prepared.

Disclaimer: The following rules only apply to people who would like to vote based on what they really think, rather than what other people tell them to think.

Source: Times of Malta

Set your agenda.

When analysing candidate performances during a debate, top political analysts give a lot of importance to which debater managed to set the discussion agenda. This shows the importance of taking a stance on difficult issues and, perhaps more importantly, manipulating the voters into deciding which issues they will put on top of their priority list and which issues they will ignore.

To avoid this, you can easily make a list of what, in your opinion, are the top issues, in order of which the country should address first. If you manage to make this list early enough, you can rest assured that you are prioritising what you really think – rather than what an election campaign wants you to believe - is important.

Listen to different opinions with an open mind.

Don't think of yourself as a supporter, but think of yourself as a judge whose opinion and vote has to be earned.

Find a balance in your media consumption.

Each topic can be tackled from various angles, and everyone will present the story from their point of view. The same news item is reported differently across media platforms who each have their own agenda. All reporters have their bias; whether they care to admit this or not is a different question.

Going into this election period, make sure to understand what agenda and bias your news source may have and try to consume all sides of the story to formulate a better-informed opinion.

Listen also to what the smaller parties have to say.

Some small parties make valid points but do not have the resources to push their message across different platforms the same way the major parties do. Therefore, it is important to spend some time trying to understand their message. They may also have items on their agenda that are important to society but too delicate or controversial to bring up without causing offence, so the main political parties may avoid discussing them altogether. These parties, therefore, deserve at least a few minutes of our time to listen to what they have to say.

Keep arguments separate from the person saying them.

It is important to go into a debate with an open mind. When tuning in to a debate, be it online or on TV, it is important to understand what people are saying and distinguish between what the message is and who is saying it. It may be that someone you may not particularly like shares your values and agenda. You might therefore discredit their side of the argument simply because you came into the debate with an unfavourable bias against that person.

We are likely to have some heated arguments during the next few months, but let's all make sure that once the argument is over, we shake hands and leave any grudges at the door so that we can have another peaceful argument tomorrow.

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