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AIBU to think compulsory voting is the way to go

(77 Posts)
MadonnaKebab Sat 07-Sep-13 13:17:05

The Australian election is being concluded right now
I'm not necessarily happy about the result
But I do think its great that 90% of the electorate has expressed their preference at the ballot box
AIBU to think that the UK would also benefit from compulsory voting
(Ie fined for not turning up, but fined to actively abstain at the ballot box)

What do you think?

MinesAPintOfTea Sun 08-Sep-13 05:51:52

Wishes I don't consider courting to be optional: its a civic duty that people died to give me the right to do. And it is easy to vote in the UK, either on the day or through postal ballot or through a proxy who votes on your behalf.

But if after being bombarded with information and politicians going door to door voters still cba then its their own lookout if they fail individually or add groups to be represented.

I hardly think a £20 fine will help create interest in politics and with many failures on the breadline out could cause serious problems.

MinesAPintOfTea Sun 08-Sep-13 05:52:48

That's one hell of an autocorrect: families not failures blush

Rosa Sun 08-Sep-13 06:25:00

I live abroad and have tried to vote for the last 2 elections. I start with a phone call, then have to write , however, as my parents moved they can't decide which electoral role I was on and then 'process' me from there. I have concluded therefore that my vote is not important....plus I am not wasting any more time and cost into trying to get it sorted.

friday16 Sun 08-Sep-13 07:28:35

"I think the main argument for compulsory voting is that a govt has more legitimacy if 50% of people have voted for it than if, say, 20% of people have voted for it."

Even if the votes are forced out of the electorate? Why is a government more legitimate just because it can claim to have been voted for by people who were frightened of being punished?

Anyway, after the pathetic incompetence of the Liberal Democrats (you can stop there, really, can't you?) over AV, with their "Eddie Izzard says it's great, so you plebs should just do as we say" campaign, no-one is going to touch electoral process for the next twenty years.

Jolleigh Sun 08-Sep-13 07:42:47

I'd be devastated if compulsory voting came in without any attempt to educate the masses on both politics and economics. The fact is, there are a lot of people who decide not to vote simply because they don't feel they know enough about what's going on. There will also be many people (as there are now) who have a biased for or against a particular party, and who don't necessarily agree with the party they then vote for. I think that enforcing a compulsory vote without educating people first will seriously taint the quality of the vote.

waltzingmathilda Sun 08-Sep-13 07:54:50

So. If you think 'voting' should be compulsory - but abstaining is fine, why do people have to get out of bed to abstain?

FWIW I always vote.

The way I see it, most people really CBA about politics, they like a moan about the current council or government but when push comes to shove they understand very little about politics. Therefore I have an even more ridiculous better solution.

If you CBA to vote, it must, by default, mean you like what's holding power already? So it should be assumed those who havent voted are happy with the status quo and their votes count towards the party already in power.

FredFredGeorge Sun 08-Sep-13 08:05:35

Few governments would have more than 50% voting for it, (the largest party in the new Australian government got 31.7% of the votes - less than a party that is not in the new Australian gov. All the voters may have known they'd get a particular coalition, but even all the parties together didn't get 50% of the votes...

So if that was the aim, compulsory voting isn't very successful at getting it - you'd need other changes. However it's not a worthwhile aim anyway, the legitimacy comes from the process not the numbers.

About the only good thing compulsory voting does is prevent candidates having to spend time "getting out the vote", rather than campaigning, but that's not much of a benefit to weigh against taking away peoples right not to have to vote.

friday16 Sun 08-Sep-13 08:16:22

"About the only good thing compulsory voting does is prevent candidates having to spend time "getting out the vote", "

ie, it rewards lazy politicians.

Since 1983 I've voted in every election, local and national, for which I've been eligible. I rarely vote in European elections, because I don't want to give an opaque and corrupt parliament the credibility of turnout, and I didn't vote in the Police Commissioner election because (a) the candidates were so lazy they didn't even send me material containing their policies and (b) I don't think the post should exist and would have voted `no' had there been a referendum, as I voted `no' for an elected mayor. I'm as politically engaged as you like, but I believe that a low turnout (as opposed to a high rate of spoiled papers) is a legitimate sign of a failed process, and should be regarded as such.

TiggyD Sun 08-Sep-13 08:35:04

No. If somebody can't be arsed to vote then their vote isn't wanted as it would probably be ill informed or done for 'a laugh'.

TiggyD Sun 08-Sep-13 08:38:57

You could get 40% of an electorate voting for policies, people, issues ect, and 60% voting for a laugh. The Looney party would stand a real chance of getting in.

Saffyz Sun 08-Sep-13 08:43:55

YABU. It's against democracy to force people to vote.

echt Sun 08-Sep-13 08:45:51

The best thing about the Australian system is the sausage sizzle at every polling station.

I was v. pissed off to have to rank six parties in order for my vote to count. Why should I preference that utter cunt Abbott at all??

FredFredGeorge Sun 08-Sep-13 08:47:11

friday16 Well the idea is that if you don't have to spend time preaching to those you've already convinced of your ideas to actually turn up, you can spend that time convincing others about your actual ideas.

Even the least lazy politician will have to spend time just convincing people to go to the polling station.

OwlinaTree Sun 08-Sep-13 08:47:58

What's the point of voting for none of the above on a ballot paper? What are you saying? 'I'd rather live in an anarchist state and survive on my wits then have a democratically voted for government'

No politician is ever going to be 100% on your side. You have to pick one that you are least offended by, most cares about what you care about and does the best work within your local area. A no show really says you are happy with the status quo IMO.

My borough has always been under the control of Labour ( an area in Liverpool).

This is in line with my beliefs, so I am happy not to have compulsory voting, as those that don't take an interest, seem to support the BNP, or UKIP and that is an issue.

I think if we had compulsory voting then the Right Wing/oppressive parties would be voted in.

I have had discussions with some people for <years> in the pubs I drink in, yet they still see no difference in EU economic immigration and "illegals" who, of course, take all of "our" resources, via benefits.

Compulsory voting is great, if you have an informed reasonably intelligent voter, there are regions were that isn't the case and luckily they make up the "can't be arsed".

friday16 Sun 08-Sep-13 08:58:01

"Well the idea is that if you don't have to spend time preaching to those you've already convinced of your ideas to actually turn up"

If they don't turn up, clearly you hadn't sufficiently convinced them.

comingalongnicely Sun 08-Sep-13 09:01:19

I think voting should be compulsory. At least you'd have a party in that had the majority vote of the whole country, not the majority vote of the 20% that turned out to vote.

As for Democracy - Hah! It's democratic for the 15 seconds it takes you to put the X in the box. After that it's a benign dictatorship for the next 4 years - they do what they want.

It's your right to vote for a party, it's your right to vote for no party. I don't think it's right to not even turn up...

comingalongnicely Sun 08-Sep-13 09:05:08

Compulsory voting is great, if you have an informed reasonably intelligent voter, there are regions were that isn't the case and luckily they make up the "can't be arsed".

Careful, you're getting close to going back to the old days where the insane, elderly & female couldn't vote.

Unfortunately everyone is allowed to vote and if that leads to a right wing government then so be it - the people will have spoken. The other parties would have to take the time & effort to explain to people why they should be voted in, rather than relying on the "this area's Tory, that area's Labour" way of doing things now.

OwlinaTree Sun 08-Sep-13 09:05:47

Imagine if they took none of the above literally tho!

Saffyz Sun 08-Sep-13 09:57:35

> At least you'd have a party in that had the majority vote of the whole country, not the majority vote of the 20% that turned out to vote.

If people can't be bothered to vote, they forfeit their right to complain about a government who's chosen by those who CAN be bothered.

MinesAPintOfTea Sun 08-Sep-13 10:08:10

Careful, you're getting close to going back to the old days where the insane, elderly & female couldn't vote.

There's a difference between saying "We will do all you can to make it easy for you to vote, but if you don't that's your lookout." than "You shouldn't be allowed to vote."

I would prefer everyone voted, but understand that you can't force people to exercise their rights. What punishment would you like to see for those who don't turn up to vote?

DrinkFromMyFountain Sun 08-Sep-13 10:40:45

I strongly disagree with people who don't show up to vote. I'm not fussed if they spoil their ballot or leave it blank (I have done this in the past) to show that they aren't happy with any of the options, but I really do think they should bother showing up to at least have some sort of say in how their country is run.

IMO if you vote or spoil your ballot, you have absolutely no right to moan about the current government.

I am on the fence about a forced vote, I don't think people should be forced to, however I think everyone has a moral obligation to do some research about the parties on offer and make a decision based on that.

I find people who have no interest whatsoever in politics or voting very very odd. That being said it doesn't sit right with me that people who feel this way would be forced to vote. I still think they're twats though grin

PoppyAmex Sun 08-Sep-13 10:43:35

"At least you'd have a party in that had the majority vote of the whole country, not the majority vote of the 20% that turned out to vote."

That's irrelevant, you still have the majority.

You have the majority of all participating voters and that's the way it should be.

How would you feel if the remaining 80% of voters who have shown no interest in voting were forced to vote and chose to elect the "Party of Taking the Piss" for a laugh?

PoppyAmex Sun 08-Sep-13 10:51:39

I come from a european country with a proud democratic and republican history, but for a very dark period of 41 years we were under an extreme right-wing dictatorship.

People were incarcerated, executed and tortured in the name of freedom and since our peaceful revolution in 1974 we never took Democracy for granted again.

So to me, born in 1975, to parents and grandparents who fought and sacrificed a lot, the talk of compulsory voting is abhorrent, unethical and to a certain degree dangerous.

comingalongnicely Sun 08-Sep-13 11:27:35

How would you feel if the remaining 80% of voters who have shown no interest in voting were forced to vote and chose to elect the "Party of Taking the Piss" for a laugh?| It'd be the majority vote & I'd accept it.

Can't be any worse than the 3 main parties we have at the moment anyway. It can't be right that the elected party was elected by less than 10% of the population overall - we'd bomb an Arabic country who had a leader elected by that few people....

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