Compulsory Voting

Should your country introduce compulsory voting?

  • Aye!
  • Nay!
  • Save the whales!

0 voters

Don’t know what the situation is where you live, but in Australia it is illegal not to vote (although the penalty is nominal only, about A$20)

I don’t know if it’s an issue overseas, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Have a great weekend guys and gals

It is an issue for the UK because our election turnout is always pretty pitiful. Some people (myself included) put this down mainly to the imbalance of the first-past-the-post electoral ssytem. Most people live in safe seats, where their vote is wasted.
However you could argue that if we all had to vote, safe seats may not be so safe.
I’d vote for forced voting AND PR :smiley:

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How well do you think it works in Aus (always better to get an authentic, primary perspective)? Personally, I don’t know but I get the feeling it might weaken democracy (which we in the western world seem to love so dearly) if everyone has to vote - even if they don’t really give a toss.

Then again, I agree with what Cliffski’s saying. I feel ashamed sometimes when I see our election turnout in the UK.

Quoth The Raven

Well, it has it’s good points and bad points.

On the bad side, some people don’t give a toss, so they either donkey vote (which is numbering your preferences 1,2,3,4,5 etc in a line down the page, which does count. So the parties always try and get themselves at the top of the ballot!) or they don’t vote properly, in which case their vote doesn’t count. Or they don’t vote at all. Like I said, the fine is minimal and rarely enforced. However, the amount of no shows is very small.

On the plus side, parties have to me very mainstream in their appeal or they will not have a hope. I’ve always thought that when voting is volunatary, most people won’t bother, and so pollies only have to appeal to the people who are going to vote, who are likely to be more extreme (because they ‘care’ more) like your gran, or your neighbour who calls the police whenever your dog is barking. Whereas in a compulsory system, Joe Bloggs has to vote, and he’s not going to vote for someone that wants to ban hoodies, for example, because Joe Bloggs rightly thinks that’s loony.

Also on the plus side, no one is disenfranchised. If I lived somewhere and there was only a 40% voter turnout, and they had FTFP, and the party that won had only 30%% of that vote, then my new rulers would have been selected by only 12% of the voting population - And that’s not really a democratic mandate, is it :slight_smile:.
You could even call a volunatry system a form of oligarchy, the mandate is so small. And though I didn’t vote, my reasons for doing are not neccesarily apathy, especially if I was from a disadvantaged area. Or didn’t speak the language.

Interesting. I never cionsidered some of that and you have given me something more to write in my politics exam next week - so, thank you :slight_smile:

My only concern is, without putting to fine a point on it, there are a lot of stupid people in England that could potentially change the numbers for no real reason. Then again, if you look at it from a liberal perspective, you have to acknowledge the fact that you are just as likely to be wrong as anyone else.

Quoth The Raven

this is true. so many people read newspapers whose political agenda is random, to say the least. I dread to think what laws we would have in the UK if the political editors of tabloid newspapers were in charge.

I would introduce this plan. I would have Mixed Member Proportional Representation (the system I explained in the PR thread) and then Compulsory Voting. HOWEVER legally I think a citizen should be allowed to vote Blank if they want (if they truly have no confidence in their candidates) and to make this easier on the citizen (for those who are lazy), we can have internet voting (the government can give you a serial code in the mail that you can use to vote online at the comfort of our own home, internet cafe, etc. It will be kind of like registering cd keys for online play in videogames. Once you get your serial code, you can go online to register your account so that if someone tries to log on with your code, they can’t.)

I know that there are people who are very cynical towards e-voting because its computer-based (and apparently more open to corruption which I think is bollock because humans can easily manipulate paper ballot voting) but why not? We use the internet for shopping, banking (we’re dealing with serious money here) and whatever else already. Of course we would still have regular polls for people not comfortable with internet voting. Not to mention that an internet government voting site can provide hyperlinks which quickly show you information on party policies, candidate voting history, etc etc if you want to better inform yourself. Besides voter turnout is really bad among the same generation that has the highest technology literacy (The 18-25 age group).

These are good points, although the contrary argument goes that if people cant make the effort to get to a polling station, then they dont feel strongly enough about the political process anyway.
You could argue that people shouldnt be allowed to vote in the same way as they can in TV gameshow or whatever, because that trivialises the importance of the issue at hand.
Ive also heard people argue that voters should prove that they have an understanding of the issues before being ‘allowed’ to vote. It could be argued that its detrimental for the peocess if people are ‘blindly’ voting for a party without really understanding their policies. Im sure there are many people voting labour in the UK who dont identify with their policies any mroe (they have changed massively over 20 years), just because they vote out of habit.

There are two contrary forces here, the deire for everyone to participate in the political process so as to legitimise it, against the desire for elections to be taken by people who are making edcuated and informed decisions.

I guess more political education at schools would help. Everyone should play this game :smiley:

Well I use that argument because for eg. in my riding its a Liberal stronghold so I don’t bother to make the effort to vote because it would just be a waste of my time to make the trip to vote Green and not have the vote count(who only get like 4-5% in the polls). But I think this is probably moreso a problem of the actual electoral system as you said. If it was done in PR in some form it would encourage more people to go to the polls.

Everyone should play this game, especially if they do politics - have you done much marketing in education?

By the way, I am the teensiest bit disappointed that none of you wanted to save the whales :blush:

getting the game into schools is really hard. Its being used in some US universities, but not many. By far the best way for this to happen is when a student tells their teacher about the game, which is what I try to encourage. When that happens, it can do really well. Its down to the old ‘word of mouth’ thing.

Typically, though, STV systems use randomised list generation, so every ballot paper has an equal chance of having Joe’s Applegrower Party or The Fundamentalist Banjo Brigade at the top of it.

And in New Zealand we have compulsory electoral registration, but not voting. The fine for not enrolling is pretty minimal though, as far as I know.

I think the UK situation has to do with the typical “there’s no one worth voting for” scenario…

I abstain from voting anyway since I don’t really agree with any of the political parties or rather I can’t get in the mood of trusting them, they are after all power mongering liars :unamused:

On the flip side though, anything to do with the monarchy would get a resounding vote in FAVOUR of them, which is probably hypocritical of me but that’s my view.

Forced voting isn’t something I agree with, I think if people choose not to vote they are effectively saying “We don’t want any of the present parties to be in power” rather than the hopefully rarer cases of “We want anarchy!” =p

golly, you are a cynical voter! I agree that Blair seems a bit too shiny, but there are actually a few commited politicians out there. Unfortunately sometimes they are also very disagreeable, eg Mr Bush, but that’s democracy eh?

If nobody tries to change anything, nothing is going to change.

Tantalisingly unexplained, I’d love to hear why you love the monarch.

Perhaps so… Blair is just… Blair. The Tory party seems to self-destruct anytime they get a hint of victory, the Lib Dems seem more concerned about being Labour’s alternative, BNP is hardly a moral vote and most other parties tend to be too small to do anything in terms of damage.

If the Tories sorted themselves out I’d probably vote for them, then again I’d vote for any party that I’d like who’d make some difference, at the moment I just don’t feel any of them really do… y’know?

The figure of a monarch is just something I’ve always liked, call it a childhood thing of growing up pretending to be a valiant knight etc etc. No it’s not rational thinking obviously but I always had an affinity for the fuedal system (of whatever technical type).

That aside, the Queen and some sections within the monarchy remain in my point of view a pillar of respect and courtsey something I think that in Britain itself has gone down the drain. Along with the fact a monarch is meant to be a figurehead, an inspiration to the people and perhaps an ambassador to the foreign countries and that one of the main things people can and/or do associate with Britain is the monarchy I think it would be a sad day when the monarchy is eliminated.

It’s difficult for me to explain really, I just think they should always be there, a figure of the history of the country and inspiration to the people in many cases. I’m not quite so extreme to the point I think anyone believing the Monarchy should be eliminated is verging on treason even though in the days of old it would have been hehe =)

I also support the Queen, while at the same time being a pretty fanatical Green supporter, which tend to contradict.

I see a switch to president wasteful and with a negative gain-loss ratio. I like the fact that the supreme power is fixed in a nuetral source. Plus, there’s something more … magical about a monarch. Anyone can have a president, but a monarch is special.

Well I am Canadian and I think that having the Monarch around is good. We even get a free holiday thanks to the crown (Victoria Day). What does concern me however is how we waste so many millions on Queen Elizabeth II whenever she pays a visit to Canada. This drains taxpayer funds. However I am Pro-Monarch because a lot of our Canadian identity IMO is tied to the crown. If we get rid of the Constitutional Monarchy we will be just like the United States. The Monarchy is what seperates us from our neighbours to the south.

I also believe that in Britain they should keep the monarchy now more than ever considering how they have Tony Blair as Prime Minister. Queen Elizabeth II might have ceremonial powers but technically the monarch can step in if there is a government tyranny no? :smiley:

The Queen has the power (at least here) to dimiss the Parliament, declare war on whomever she wants, and a few other things, like stop laws passing.

Of course, she never does that, but it’s better having that power in the hands of the Queen, than in the hands of a president, who is part of the leading party.

And on the matter of voting, I don’t think it should be compulsory. Not voting is a vote for no confidence for any candidate or party, and that’s important for democracy.

I am sure it is like that here because in Canada she is officially the head of state (though thus far everything she does here is just ceremonial… there has been no serious need to intervene). It’s obviously the same deal in Britain and probably in Australia too.

Her powers here are carried out by the Governor General, and are occasionally exercised. (Such as sacking the PM)
So really, we have to pay for two Heads of State, seems a bit silly. Although I do take your point about her being neutral, why not just randomly select a member of the population, rather than pay for a family whose ancestors were bigger bastards than ours to live in luxury?

I assume you have the same setup in other ex-Dominions.