The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Today was referendum day in Sweden, as the voters decided whether or not to join most of the rest of the European Union in adopting the Euro as the national currency. Sweden would remain an EU member regardless, but business and economic issues with other member countries would be complicated by sticking with the krona. Coloring the voting was the shocking stabbing death of the country's pro-Euro foreign minister Anna Lindh last week.

The people spoke, and rejected the Euro. While the 97 percent turnout was impressive, what I found even more impressive was what 2 percent of those voters did:

Some 2 percent of the ballots were reported to be blank, confirming, at least initially, the prediction of some analysts that many Swedes might choose to cast their ballot as a show of support for democracy after Lindh's death on Thursday , but were still undecided about the euro issue.

"I thought about this for I don't know how long," said one undecided voter, a 32-year-old junior high school teacher, voting under an unseasonably sunny sky in the western part of the capital. "I chose a blank ballot. I decided I can't decide. But I wanted to use my right to vote."

Imagine--people who value their right to vote so much, that they'll trudge out to the polls even if they're undecided on which way to vote. Stunning. A stark contrast to the American voter, who typically can't be bothered to get off his/her fat ass to cast a ballot.