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Should voting in elections be compulsory?

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Not unless there is also compulsory education about the policies that politicians support. Everyone should vote, but only if everyone understands what their vote supports.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No. Voting is... a pitiful plea.... It is a beg... PLEASE MASTER!!! GIVE ME BACK!! JUST A LITTLE MORE!! of what you have stolen from me.

People should just stop voting altogether. Half the people actually don't vote. Now we need the other half to not vote for our executioners and thieves.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Force people to vote. Hmm. Now how would that be defined as democracy?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I refuse to vote in this poll!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Absolutely not. If a person doesn't have a firm understanding of all the candidates and their positions they should not vote. The same principle applies to ballot proposals and referendums. Many people are susceptible to emotional responses and impassioned campaigning to the exclusion of hard facts.

I follow politics very closely, I keep up on social and economic trends, and I'm fairly well read and even I don't feel I can come to confident conclusion on more than half of the people that were on the last ballot. In the last election I voted in I left half the positions blank because I didn't know enough about them and I have no shame in that.

Focus on the parts that you feel are most important and learn as much as possible about the different options and come to an informed decision. Sometimes that informed decision might even be abstaining when all available options are equally unsatisfactory.

Proponents will argue that you can always select "Neither" or "None" but more often than not when put in a position to choose between a select number of options a person will pick the one they think they like more based on gut reactions, casual conversation, and whatever they may have heard on the news. That leads to bad decisions and the rise of inept public officials whose only real skill is campaigning.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Heh, if I don't vote, I can't see the results of this poll, so I voted! Oh! I see I'm among the 56% who voted no.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

any Australians answer?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sf2k,

Personally l do not like compulsory voting. In fact one of our states is talking about removing the compulsory voting much to the annoyance of our highly annoying prime minister. I normally walk into the voting station get my name signed off get my ballots walk to the booth and fold them up without filling them in. Unless there is someone decent to vote for I.e Pauline hanson!!!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

In the only places where voting is mandatory, the government helpfully casts your vote for you. So convenient!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I voted 'No'... I don't believe that people should be forced to vote for candidates they neither trust nor believe in.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

in australia is compulsory if you have enrolled to vote. Enrolling however isn't compulsory. I think you will also find that after enrolling and now being forced to vote (or receive i think a $30 fine) people tend to be more interested in government, especially local government.

I think its a good thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@jessebaybay.

I agree. Making it compulsory to vote tends to give the community an incentive to learn and follow local and national politics. If it were not compulsory, I feel Australians would not have such a high level of understanding to the "wheeling’s and dealings" of our governments.

If Japan was to take on compulsory voting, I think it would encourage the general population to learn more about their political system and it will also give them a stronger voice when dealing with issues of national interest.

Just my opinion.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it should, for several reasons:

It would give people more of an incentive to follow politics and understand what the vote actually means. Currently there's a self-perpetuating lock of apathy going on in many countries: people assume that their votes don't matter, and that they can't have any impact on politics; but no vote matters less than the one that's not counted, and so they don't use their influence. The result of this is that politicians know that they only have to actually work to appeal to a relatively small percentage of regular voters. This has a disproportionate harm on certain communities who are bombarded with this real and perceived lack of influence and enfranchisement: the poor, ethnic minorities, people in dysfunctional social and domestic situations, and really any marginalised minority. Getting them out to vote wouldn't make every poor kid from the estates suddenly an expert, but it would make more of them realise that they have a say and that it matters.

Linking in to this, in many democracies there are nevertheless covert methods in place to make sure that certain groups of people can't vote. Examples of this include photo ID laws in several US states, or moving the polling station without informing certain areas, or making it inaccessible to those without a car, or prohibiting early queuing, etc. It's a nefarious effort to make sure that only a select socio-economic class - who are more likely to vote for the establishment - can vote. This comes about because the onus is perceived to be on the people to go to the extra effort to exercise their right to vote. If we have it that the government really is responsible for making sure everyone is able to vote, and that they are accountable if someone has tried to do so and was unable to, this may remedy some of the unfair de facto limitations. After all, every voter has to be accounted for, and it's as much illegal for the governments to not let people vote as it is for people not to vote.

The day would also have to be set aside as a compulsory bank holiday, so that no one would have to be at work and thus unable to reach the polling station.

We would be able to properly gauge what people think of things. Not just how many vote for a particular party, but how many spoil their ballot, or select "none of the above" or "re-open nominations". Often knowing this is as important as the people who vote for a particular party. We often have doubts as to the true popularity of a party, with a winning party that only got 25% of the total vote because so few people bothered to vote. These parties then proclaim the mandate of the people when they truthfully do not have it.

So there are a few. Really, I don't view it as a terrible imposition, and I think society would be far better for it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This topic reminds me of two of my favourite quotes:

“The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.” ― Plato, The Republic

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” ― Thomas Jefferson

In other words, as Jefferson points out, participation in democracy is a choice (and choices are the heart of democracy), but, as Plato points out, it is a choice with consequences.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What kind of stupid question is this.. Of course people shouldn't be forced to vote. People shouldn't be forced to do anything. It wouldn't be much of a democracy otherwise...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes - It should be compulsory turn up. If you choose to spoil you ballot, so be it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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