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To think compulsory voting is the way forward!

(35 Posts)
Inboxer Sun 16-Nov-14 00:56:17

It doesn't feel very democratic that we have governments in power when only a small percentage of the population voted for them. I think if voting was made compulsory like it is in Australia and a "none of the above" tick box was added as an option then more people would have to be politically engaged. Politicians would have to work to keep all social groups happy not just those most likely to want to vote and if the "none of the above" box won, it would make a more powerful statement than people just not bothering to vote. We would need better teaching of politics in our secondary schools though but I think it would make a much better system.

AgentZigzag Sun 16-Nov-14 01:32:56

Aside from the fact that it's within politician's interest for people not to engage in politics wholesale, you shouldn't force people into taking part in the process.

I'd much rather those who are drawn to it are enabled to go as far as they want regardless of their roots, and anyone who hasn't got the slightest interest are left alone to ignore the hugely frustrating subject of decision making at government level.

Politics/politicians should never be taken too seriously anyway (even though it's about deadly serious subject) the day we have our irreverence of it all taken away is the day I'm off out to heckle our MP on the street.

MQv2 Sun 16-Nov-14 01:38:15

Understand the viewpoint but wholeheartedly disagree with it.
Implicit in the right to vote is the right not to vote.

Also I think forcing people who otherwise wouldn't vote to vote is the surest way of making it a race to the bottom

CrazyOldBagLady Sun 16-Nov-14 01:51:30

Don't really see the difference between abstaining or ticking 'none of the above'. Money would need to be found to police this excercise, which would mean we would have to fine those who are politically disenchanted. Relly can't see any benefit. Politicians are already courting the popular opinions to win votes.

Agree with politics being taught in secondary schools however.

BumpNGrind Sun 16-Nov-14 01:54:17

Compulsory voting feels undemocratic to me. In a democracy you should have the right to use your vote freely or not at all should you choose.

I also think that there are so many disillusioned voters that compulsory voting would only strengthen marginalised parties like UKIP or the BNP because those who are disillusioned but inactive would be forced to participate and could choose a narrow party based on prejudice or narrow mindedness.

Tobyjugg Sun 16-Nov-14 02:41:35

Not even the Australians claim it gives a 100% turn out so what's the point? Aside from having a democratic right not to vote if I choose not to, you'd also be blocking up an already overstretched justice system by having to prosecute non-voters.

xNix1 Sun 16-Nov-14 02:43:23

Surely compulsory voting can be put in the same category as compulsory taxes? And education? And jury duty And following road rules and ... it goes on. Voting is a civic duty that everyone should take part in.

Benefits of compulsory voting:
- Politicians are forced to listen to everyone not just the demographics they know will vote (i.e the rich)
- if fines are involved then the government is forced to make voting as easy as possible (offering voting by mail for example)
- it gives the new government a higher degree of political legitimacy
- makes it harder for extremist groups to get into power
- makes people more interested in politics, becomes not a matter of 'should I vote' but 'who' should I vote for. Makes it harder for people to justify being lazy.
- Informal voting is far more telling then not turning up - you can not turn up because you forgot, you wanted to go shopping instead etc - while an informal vote indicates are you truly not happy with any of the choices.

Bulbasaur Sun 16-Nov-14 02:46:58

It's better to have people who care vote, than uninformed idiots randomly checking boxes because they have to.

If they don't want to vote, that's their choice.

But if they're not going to be actively participating in politics, they had better not be complaining about them either.

xNix1 Sun 16-Nov-14 02:48:05

Tobyjugg - Australia had a 93% turn out last year. UK had 65% in 2010. US had 60% in 2012. That's 28% - 33% more vote in a compulsory voting system.

CrazyOldBagLady Sun 16-Nov-14 02:52:25

Would love to see proof of your claims xnix1.

Custardo Sun 16-Nov-14 02:56:55

For the fucking life of me don't understand why it's not easier to vote. It's the 21st century for fucks sake. I can honestly say not one person has asked me for I. D. in addition to my voting card. When voting in person. I now do postal... open to massive fraud quite easily should anyone give enough of a shot I would imagine...therefore why have we not got a simple online registering and voting system yet? I think because it would enfranchise many people.

At which point, you bet your area politics would be taught n schools.

Disappointed with th race to the bottom and poor people vote UKIP responses.

Custardo Sun 16-Nov-14 02:58:28

Is there a setting to allow swearing like a fu king grown up on Kindle?

JoanHickson Sun 16-Nov-14 03:12:13

AS long as there is an option for me to put a cross next to "I do not want to give my vote to any of the candidates".

Tobyjugg Sun 16-Nov-14 03:15:31

xNix1 I knew the Australian percentage was in the 90s but that's still not a good enough reason to introduce compulsion in my view. If you wish to increase turnout, it would be far better to have e-voting or hold elections on a non-working day - either to switching them to Sunday as most of Europe does or by making polling day a national holiday. It is also interesting that some nations (e.g. Italy and the Netherlands) that introduced it have now abolished compulsion and in Belgium (according to Wikipedia) no prosecution for failing to vote has been brought since 2003. It's a nice idea in theory but I am doubtful that it would actually achieve what its supporters hope for.that's all.

Tobyjugg Sun 16-Nov-14 03:17:03

no idea why "that's" is at the end of last post.

Custardo Sun 16-Nov-14 03:19:53

A day off if you produce a voting receipt at work would be good. An extra something on jsa etc.

Tobyjugg Sun 16-Nov-14 03:24:10

One further point. I do not follow your comment "if fines are involved then the government is forced to make voting as easy as possible" I cannot see any reason why the Govt would have to make things simple. There are fines for failing to fill out all sorts of Govt. paperwork (which is all a ballot paper is, after all) but none of them are made easier to submit because of that.

xNix1 Sun 16-Nov-14 03:26:18

CrazyOldBagLady - I'm afraid I'm not a researcher myself, but Professor Lisa Hill has written some good articles should you wish to google it. There quite a fairly sizable body of academic work on the matter.

Tobyjugg Sun 16-Nov-14 03:26:58

Custardo That's the "carrot" approach. An alternative "stick" version might be no jsa or tax relief (for workers) without a voting receipt.

Custardo Sun 16-Nov-14 03:29:03

Yes indeed. But however much I despise ( and I do) those who don't vote, I do agree that the irony is that it shouldn't be compulsory in a democracy.

Tobyjugg Sun 16-Nov-14 03:29:56

I have read some of Prof Hill's articles. They did not convince me (as I'm sure you've realised by my posts. xNix1 I think we both want to get to the same destination (i.e. increased voter turn out) but we're arguing over which map to use!

Tobyjugg Sun 16-Nov-14 03:32:21

Custardo Agreed. DD gets livid with girlfriends who don't vote. I have heard her scream at one (& I do mean scream) that a woman died so you could vote you know!

CrazyOldBagLady Sun 16-Nov-14 03:35:17

Custardo, you are the only person that has mentioned UKIP so far on this thread.

CrazyOldBagLady Sun 16-Nov-14 03:39:07

xnix1, if you would like to share an article of Prof. Lisa Hill that supports your claim I would be very happy to read it.

Andrewofgg Sun 16-Nov-14 09:04:07

Voting should be on two days over a weekend, but it should not be compulsory, and postal ballot should (as it used to be) restricted to people who might otherwise not be able to vote for work reasons. The scope for electoral fraud is just too great at the moment. For the same reason forget e-voting - there is no way if knowing who is at the screen and who is over that person's shoulder. You cannot beat the ballot box for genuine secrecy.

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