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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?

MadonnaKebab Sat 07-Sep-13 13:18:57

Apologise for autocorrect
It is FINE to abstain
But you have to shift your bum to actively do so, not just be too apathetic to turn up

aliciagardner Sat 07-Sep-13 13:21:43

Agree. Should be compulsory.

PoppyAmex Sat 07-Sep-13 13:23:38

Absolutely not.

That goes against the principle of a Democratic election.

nancy75 Sat 07-Sep-13 13:23:56

I agree with you. Dp is Australian and the voter turn out here is really shocking to him when we have an election. the problem with it is enforcement, do we want to end up with courts full of people that didnt vote and won't pay the fine?

I don't know how strongly they enforce it in OZ, i will ask dp when he gets home.

That aside I think its a shame they didn't pay them all not to vote this year Tony Abbott makes Davis Cameron look like a leftie.

SirChenjin Sat 07-Sep-13 13:25:11

Agree OP - YANBU

MrsMongoose Sat 07-Sep-13 13:28:38

It should only be compulsory If there is a 'no one' option on the ballot. After all, that is what not voting is voting for.

MadonnaKebab Sat 07-Sep-13 13:28:57

So long as you turn up at the polling station, it's all OK
If you fail to do so , I think the fine is about $200
It's just like a parking or speeding fine
Doesn't clog up the courts at all
But it does encourage everyone to get out & vote

PoppyAmex Sat 07-Sep-13 13:33:30

Someone once said that "Democracy is the worst system, with the exception of all the others."

It's not perfect, but it sure as hell is the best we could have - to force people to vote would undermine the hard earned right to express your conscious opinion.

You would get quantity of votes, not quality and like Jason Brennan said in his "Ethics of Voting" you would get what he calls "pollution of the polls" where a candidate like Silvio Berlusconi can win an election thanks to full media control.

nancy75 Sat 07-Sep-13 13:35:09

Madonnakebab, you might be surprised at how many people end up in court for unpaid parking/speeding fines!

PoppyAmex Sat 07-Sep-13 13:36:52

And nancy, having lived in Australia for 10 years, let me tell you their system is a perfect case against compulsory voting.

I especially agree with you when it comes to racist, biggest enemy of women's equality Tony Abbott.

MadonnaKebab Sat 07-Sep-13 13:38:38

Poppy I think you are misunderstanding
It is perfectly fine to turn up and submit a blank ballot paper
I agree there should be an option to clarify that this is because I choose to abstain because I think you are all crap
Rather than I am incapable of filling in a simple ballot
But the assumption is the former rather than the latter

Morloth Sat 07-Sep-13 13:38:57

The problem with today's election was that there wasn't anyone who we could really vote for really we had to choose beteeen the lesser of two evils - but there was no way Labor was getting back in with the shenanigans of the last few months.

I didn't vote for Abbott but we will see.

I think compulsory voting works best for Oz but maybe it wouldn't for the UK.

Love a good election I was making sausage sandwiches and selling cakes all day whilst chatting to people in my local area I had never met before.

Didn't get quite the same vibe in the UK.

People who don't vote shouldn't whinge.

squoosh Sat 07-Sep-13 13:40:41


If people have the democratic right to vote well then surely they must have a democratic right not to vote.

Election turnout rates depress me but people being frogmarched to the voting booth upon threat of a hefty fine is not the way to engage people in the process.

nancy75 Sat 07-Sep-13 13:41:57

Poppy, do you think if people had to vote they would take more of an interest in politics?
I know that a % don't vote because they actively disagree with what is on offer, however I think that a lot of people aren't interested and just don't bother to vote.
Just basing this on people that I know - most of our Australian friends are quite political, they have well formed opinions and read up on the people they are voting for, I have British friends that know nothing about our government and how it works, i really think that if we had to vote more people would get involved and educate themselves about what they were voting for

PoppyAmex Sat 07-Sep-13 13:43:04

Madonna I understand what you're saying, but you're talking about two very different things:

Abstention: Voter doesn't show up because they don't care enough/have no interest in politics/feel isn't worth it, whatever

Blank vote: A conscious political vote expression in which you make clear that no candidate represents you, after giving it the appropriate consideration.

They are two very different things and I can promise you that if you were to make voting compulsory, the vast majority of people who wouldn't have voted otherwise would not vote blank. They'll vote for other reasons, including because Rupert Murdoch / Berlusconi told them so.

nancy75 Sat 07-Sep-13 13:50:28

Poppy, I have to admit I am shocked by Tony Abbott, I don't know if it's true but i read he said something along the lines of
"the idea that sex is something a women has the right to with hold needs to be moderated"

I am in the uk and can only go by what I see online, but if he actually said that well.... I don't know what to say!

Just looking at facebook this morning our friends in Australia are all very unhappy that he won, but not surprised.

MadonnaKebab Sat 07-Sep-13 13:51:32

Although It goes against all my political views
Part of me still feels it is sill more democratic for the apathetic voter to be forced ( by fear of a fine ) to turn up & vote, even if they are guided by the Sun or Mail how to do so .....
Rather than to leave it as ambiguous whether it was out of laziness or careful rejection of the available options that they failed to vote

DropYourSword Sat 07-Sep-13 13:55:27

Gah! Let's not tally about Australian voting right this second in time. We are now stuck with a misogynistic homophobic racist fuckwit for the next 3 years.

mayorquimby Sat 07-Sep-13 13:56:32

Disagree 100%
Implicit in the right to vote is the right not to vote

tryingtoleave Sat 07-Sep-13 13:59:15

I am australian. There have been quite a few times when I have cast a blank ballot because I have been so unhappy with the options on offer. This time I felt that labor didn't deserve to get back in power. They had the opportunity to do so much in 2007 and they threw it away by being completely dysfunctional.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 07-Sep-13 13:59:52

I disagree too. I think it is entirely fair that if people can't be arsed to vote then they don't get a say. I do however think that ballot papers should have a "none of the above" option.

MadonnaKebab Sat 07-Sep-13 14:02:27

Mayor I totally agree with your right to not vote
But I feel it's much clearer if you turn up at me polls and express that right
Rather than leave any doubt that you might have failed to vote out of laziness , busy elsewhere etc

MrsKwazii Sat 07-Sep-13 14:03:39

Would every kind of election be compulsory? From European to National, Borough, County, District, Parish or Town Council? Depending on council set-up, some areas of the country vote every single year. The cost of getting everyone out to vote at each election, pay more staff at polling stations and election counts and fine non-voters would be extortionate. Could we afford it? And I agree that democracy implies the right not to vote as well as to vote.

Idocrazythings Sat 07-Sep-13 14:04:22

I don't know... At least if its not compulsory you get people voting who are actually motivated to do so, and will vote having put some thought into it. Here in aus we have a lot of stupid named parties... Like "the sex party", "legalise marijuana", gun something or other. People who are ignorant don't want to vote or don't like the mainstream choices vote for these parties, not really knowing who those parties are then giving their preferences to. I'm sure a lot of people gave their precious vote away to the liberals without even knowing who they were really voting for.

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