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:
- 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
- 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