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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?

caroldecker Sat 07-Sep-13 14:05:45

Totally YABU - you should not force people to do things they do not want to do

mayorquimby Sat 07-Sep-13 14:08:24

But why?
So what if people choose not to vote out if apathy or laziness? It's still their choice

I see no good reason why anyone should be forced to attend a process they don't want to or to criminalise them.

Just because certain parts of society view it as important doesn't mean that people who don't should be forced to.

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 07-Sep-13 14:08:36

No, never. Whilst it's obviously far from perfect this is supposedly a democracy. Make voting compulsory, then what next? I think this is one time, unlike all the ridiculous things that are now supposedly a breach of human rights that this would be a breach.

MinesAPintOfTea Sat 07-Sep-13 14:09:09

I don't think so. I don't want people who have no interest at all in politics feeling obliged to turn up and cast their vote with little thought behind it.

Think we should get a "none of the above" option though. Although presumably the candidates wouldn't get the same chance to see it as they do a spoiled ballot paper.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Sep-13 14:11:09


It's my right to vote. It's my right not to vote.

If I'm being forced it's no longer a right.

I don't know much about Australian politics. Is the Australian political system significantly better than the UK due to the compulsory vote?

MrsKwazii Sat 07-Sep-13 14:12:28

Mines I think that if 'None of the above' were a voting option it would have to be counted and verified alonside the other votes, so it would probably be public record how many people had chosen that option. Just like spolied ballots are counted and included in the final results.

Idocrazythings Sat 07-Sep-13 14:14:26

Yes I think a none of the above would just be a donkey vote, easy enough to do if you don't want it cast.

PoppyAmex Sat 07-Sep-13 14:14:28

A blank vote effectively says "none of the above"

PoppyAmex Sat 07-Sep-13 14:14:57

Are blanked votes not counted in the UK? shock

PoppyAmex Sat 07-Sep-13 14:16:26

Phew, just did a quick google and yes, they are (sorry about the quick posting there).

In that case, there's no need for anything else; you have spoiled votes and blank votes (which express the "none of the above" sentiment very adequately)

MrsKwazii Sat 07-Sep-13 14:17:04

Blank votes are counted as spoiled papers. I suppose an issue of having 'none of the above' would be if that option garnered the most votes, which could lead to another election having to be run - with a doubling of costs.

PoppyAmex Sat 07-Sep-13 14:18:31

"All votes, including blank and spoiled votes, are counted and announced in the results for each constituency on election night.

Blank votes have traditionally been few in number because people have been unaware of the option. Instead, nearly 40% of registered voters have simply not voted.

Some people like to write ‘None of them’ or a comment on the ballot paper. However, in the 2008 London elections these marked papers were classified as ‘rejected votes’, not blank votes, because it could be argued that the vote was unclear or that the handwriting could make the voter identifiable. So to vote blank, the ballot paper needs to be left completely BLANK."

PoppyWearer Sat 07-Sep-13 14:18:47

Hello PoppyA.

I don't believe blank ballots are counted in the UK, but could be wrong. Last time I didn't agree with any of the options available (Police Commissioner) I deliberately spoiled my paper - I think those are counted.

I believe very strongly that voting should be compulsory. So many people sacrificed so much for us to have the vote, not voting is an insult to their memories.

PoppyAmex Sat 07-Sep-13 14:21:16

Hey PoppyW

"I believe very strongly that voting should be compulsory. So many people sacrificed so much for us to have the vote, not voting is an insult to their memories."

This is very true, they did so we could have the right and the choice and I think compulsory voting would undermine the imperfect, but wonderful thing that is Democracy.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Sep-13 14:25:24

They fought to give us a right.

Making it compulsory is taking away a right. I'd say that was more of an insult to their memory tbh.

tryingtoleave Sat 07-Sep-13 14:25:29

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.

mayorquimby Sat 07-Sep-13 14:30:55

But 100% had the opportunity to vote

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 07-Sep-13 14:33:33

Poppywearer people fought to give us rights, freedom and choice. They actually fought against dictating to people.

SybilRamkin Sat 07-Sep-13 14:35:08

YABU - I certainly don't want people who are too lazy/ignorant to vote having any say in how the country is run!

HorryIsUpduffed Sat 07-Sep-13 14:35:13

I strongly believe people should vote. In my opinion, having the right to vote implies a duty to vote carefully.

That said, I don't think a 100% turnout result would actually reflect the will of the people any more than a 56% turnout does. For a start, I don't think literacy is high enough for people to understand what the parties are even claiming to be offering, let alone actually offering.

MadonnaKebab Sat 07-Sep-13 23:58:43

Ido , yes that's why I think there should be an "I abstain " box

MrsK , only compulsory at Federal & State elections in Aus
And they make it really easy to vote early (booths at airports,etc) you can do a postal vote or an absentee ballot at any polling station nationwide, embassies overseas etc

I used to wonder about this - and then I thought that compulsory voting would lead to a massive jump in people voting BNP and such, so that it would be counter productive.

But I totally agree with the idea of a None of the Above box and I totally agree with the option to spoil one's ballot paper as a form of protest (and have done so before).

EllesAngel Sun 08-Sep-13 00:20:38

If they made voting compulsory I suspect that where I live there would be an increase in the votes for the BNP/UKIP...not a good thing.

wisheshappentobehorsestoday Sun 08-Sep-13 05:12:52

Compulsory voting is very democratic. How can a country call itself democratic if half or less of the population votes???? Its just like taxes, education, jury duty - without them you wouldn't have functioning society.

Compulsory voting means the government must do their very best to ensure everyone has the opportunity to vote, no matter your circumstances or location. The system in Australia makes it very easy to vote (you can postal vote, pre-poll vote etc. Some of the booths even stayed open for an extra hour on the day).

Compulsory voting prevents the poorer and less educated (those least likely to vote) from being completely disenfranchised. Politicians can't ignore them when considering policies in favour of the white middle-upper classes who are more likely to vote.

It means you be assured the government truly reflects the majority. Even though I disagree with most liberal policies, at least I know it reflects a majority view of the country, not just those who bothered to show up on the day. And its actually harder for extremist/special interest groups to get in as more people voting dilutes those votes (believe it or not, it gets much worse then Australian liberals). It also encourage people to take more interest in politics so they are more aware of these parties.

Voting took 20mins out of my day yesterday - I didn't even consider not voting (a fine of $20 is hardly a massive stick) - and I quite enjoyed the community vibe. I think its bizarre that people could view voting as optional.

wisheshappentobehorsestoday Sun 08-Sep-13 05:15:41

Just a clarification - obviously you can have a functioning society without compulsory voting, I just meant voting is just another aspect of a functioning democratic society.

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