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Compulsory voting. Yes or No?

Forums - Politics Discussion - Compulsory voting. Yes or No?

Should there be compulsory voting in your country?

Yes 13 20.97%
 
No 43 69.35%
 
Who cares/See results 5 8.06%
 
Total:61

Hey what's up guys, I have to do a paper for Political Science class about the pros and cons of compulsory voting, and then whether or not my country (Canada) should implement it. I'm against it personally, but I just wondered what you guys think!

And compulsory voting, for those who don't know what that means, would be you are forced by law to vote in federal elections. If you don't you could be subject to something like a small fine. Since turnout in places like Canada/USA is only around 50-60%, the idea of this is to get it close to 100%. 

Here's a point form version of what I have so far:

 

Pros:

- Reduced spending on elections for things like advertising (especially good if it reduces federal money being spent)

- Less power of interest/lobby groups. More voters dilutes the power of lobby groups

- Less extreme governments, more likely centrist governments. i.e. Reduced polarization (could also be a bad thing, since myself I'm Libertarian)

- More representation from all groups, i.e. poor people, minorities, and other groups that have the lowest turnouts currently

 

Cons:

- Infringement on your right to not vote

- Not voting can be used as a sign of protest

- People who currently refuse to vote as a protest will just switch to signing void ballots or "donkey votes" i.e. meaningless votes for a random unknown party

- More poorly informed voters...elections could go from being about the issues, to a popularity contest

- Infringement on religion...not a huge issue, but for example the Jehova's witnesses refuse to participate in "Earthly politics" or whatever the proper term is

- This doesn't actual improve legitimacy of government...higher turnout is meaningless if there are more void ballots, donkey votes, etc.

- Cost of investigating each case of somebody not voting, espcially if they appeal it and take it to court (small court, like fighting a traffic ticket)

 

 

What do you guys think? Anything I missed, or does nobody really care? There are something like 30 countries with mandatory voting, and around 12 that actively punish non-voters



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USA should have a national holiday for main elections to increase voter turnout. I'd rather go to jail than vote for some crappy candidates that belong to crappy parties.



No.
We have this cr*p in my country. It makes the political elite even more corrupted.



In the wilderness we go alone with our new knowledge and strength.

Marks said:

Cons:

- Infringement on your right to not vote

- Not voting can be used as a sign of protest

- People who currently refuse to vote as a protest will just switch to signing void ballots or "donkey votes" i.e. meaningless votes for a random unknown party


Regarding those three points:

Nobody stops you from making your vote invalid in the voting booth. That's often ignored in this discussion.



Sirius87 said:
Marks said:

Cons:

- Infringement on your right to not vote

- Not voting can be used as a sign of protest

- People who currently refuse to vote as a protest will just switch to signing void ballots or "donkey votes" i.e. meaningless votes for a random unknown party


Regarding those three points:

Nobody stops you from making your vote invalid in the voting booth. That's often ignored in this discussion.


Indeed. I did mention that the people who currently don't show up (on purpose as a protest) will just switch to voiding ballots. 

Also one web site I went on suggested there being a "none of the above" option on ballots for if you dislike all the candidates...but then what happens if "none of the above" wins the election lol, I could seriously see that happening somewhere. 



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No way. People who aren't paying attention or don't really understand the issues shouldn't vote. You'll end up with a ton of people voting at random, or voting for the name which looks a bit more familiar. This already happens a lot when smaller local elections are held at the same time as major elections. I've heard many people say they picked at random, and even a few say they voted for (or against) their own gender.



Sad part is that most people that vote for Presidential elections in USA vote for a candidate over a superficial values.



Hell no, if you're undecided or uncertain why should you be forced to vote?



Absolutely not. Aside from having to choose between options voters may not like, there is also the issue that very many people are too ignorant or stupid to know what they are voting for.

Now if you were to propose some kind of test to establish if someone is fit to vote... then I'd be interested.



I'm not really here!

Link: Shipment History Since 1995


At least in the main presidential elections I don't bother to vote, simply due to the fact that we in the United States only get two options and 99% of the time they both suck.