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Democracy & forced vote?

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posted on Jan, 7 2005 @ 05:15 PM
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(Mods...I did a search on this subject and found nothing relevant, so I hope I'm not repeating any previous threads on this. If I am, please forward me to the thread(s) and delete this one.)
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I am one of those with the opinion that our polititians need to be elected by ALL the people and can't abide those folks that, while they certainly have an opinion, never take the time to vote.

With the less than acceptable voter turnouts in Canada during our last election (when about half the population bothered to cast a ballot), there were some who talked about making the vote mandatory for all citizens above a certain age...say 21 year olds.

(I'm not sure what the voter turnouts in the U.S.A. elections were, but I bet it was similar.)

Failure to vote could then be treated like a traffic ticket...a fine would be awarded unless you could come up with a reasonable explanation on why you didn't.

What are your thoughts on such a measure?...it certainly is do-able since everyone's names are checked off the voter lists when they exercise their rights. Those names with no stroke through them would then be handed over to the authorities.

I'd be willing to bet it would make people pay more attention to who they are electing, also it should make polititians nervous, since there would be no demographics as to what sector of a community is likely to vote.

Too weird or what?

masqua




posted on Jan, 7 2005 @ 08:33 PM
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That sounds like it could do some good. One problem though. In America, voting is a right. In order to make it mandatory, with failure to vote punishable, the constitution would have to be changed and that change could only be started in the US Congress. And I'm sure that not one congressman would let that type of constitutional measure make it to the House or Senate floor, because everyone in Congress would end up booted out of office on Election Day if everyone had to vote. The concept sounds excellent, but in my opinion completely undoable with the politicians that are in the US Congress right now.



posted on Jan, 7 2005 @ 10:01 PM
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In Australia people over 18 must vote in Federal and State elections and it seems to work fine, although I do know a lot of people who don't want to vote and just tick anybody on the ballot paper at random. I still think its better than the American system though.



posted on Jan, 7 2005 @ 10:14 PM
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Even people who do bother to vote often don't do any research on the candidates besides what they see on TV commercials. "My, he certainly is a good speaker."

It's a scary thought to me that the millions of people out there who can't even be bothered to call for an absentee ballot would be having a say about our leaders. We should just do what we can to educate the public on the priviledge of voting, encourage as much turnout as possible, and let the chips fall where they may.



posted on Jan, 7 2005 @ 10:20 PM
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Before we could create a law like that the entire voting system would have to be rehashed, as we saw all the shortcomings even better this last time around. A good portion of those who were registered to vote didnt get to cast their ballot because of shortages of machines and other problems. Honestly I don't think either side (R and D) would want all the people to vote, because they might find a three way race instead of the usual two.



posted on Jan, 7 2005 @ 10:30 PM
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One thing that annoys me about the 'right to vote' is the number of people who chose not to vote then think they have the right to complain about the governing power.

I actually live in Australia and would be fined if I did not vote. I would vote regardless. A lot of people here see it as non-democratic that they are forced to cast a ballot.

I think that the best response is simply to encourage as many people as possible to 'have their say'. It doesn't infringe upon anybodies sense of freewill.

People will vote if the issues are important to them. I believe that in the last American election record numbers of voters turned out.

I would say that most people don't bother because they really don't expect that the politicians are going to hold up to their campaign promises and it generally comes down to trying to chose the lesser of two evils.



posted on Jan, 7 2005 @ 10:36 PM
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Those who pull all the political strings in this country
are just delighted that the masses are so easily fooled.

So many people think that their vote for president matters.

Your responsibility as a voter begins in your town, then your county,
then your state representatives and then finally ends with the presidential election.

If people really want things to change they have to start where they DO have the power
to vote for those changes.

Voter apathy driven by ignorance is the reason things have gotten so far out of control.



posted on Jan, 7 2005 @ 10:49 PM
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I don't consider voting a prerequisite to complaining and voicing ones oppinion, at least not in the US. Its been used for alot of crap over the years, but the first ammendment assures us the right to say 'this is bull!@#$' irregardless of voting, there is no clause saying "this only applies if you have cast a vote."

As for not voting due to lack of faith in the candidates, thats completely understandable. The vast majority of them change their ways as soon as the people they swindled cast their vote. Politicans on the whole seem to be the most corrupt and untrustworthy bunch of people (next to lawyers and the IRS of course).



posted on Jan, 7 2005 @ 11:51 PM
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We may feel like bottom feeders and have way too many friends in low places,
but the advantage of being on the bottom is that we are the foundation
that supports those above us.

If we allow the foundation to weaken by allowing corruption in our local leadership,
then it spreads like a virus to those in higher office.

WE need to STOP voting for party
and begin to favor honesty and ethics in leadership that clearly and respectfully separates religious ideology from law.

We are one of very few civilized nations that still forces our children and families
into tremendous debt for the privilege of a higher education.
Anyone with the desire to learn should have the right to a free college education.
This would ensure the continuance of our leadership role in the future.

Our health care system should be available to all in need.

By the year 2015, more than half the US population will be over 65
Where will we end up?

We are wasting trillions of dollars supporting an ideologicly misguided military industrial empire
while so much more deserves priority.

We just have to let our voices be heard



posted on Jan, 8 2005 @ 12:11 AM
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I'm of the opinion that people who can't be bothered to vote shouldn't be given the power that they will have by forcing them to vote. If someone is too stupid to vote, and forcing them isn't going to make them any smarter, then its just going to mean a real dumbing down of the elections. Worse, it will mean a more easily manipulated electorate.



posted on Jan, 8 2005 @ 12:27 AM
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Originally posted by FallenFromTheTree



We are one of very few civilized nations that still forces our children and families
into tremendous debt for the privilege of a higher education.
Anyone with the desire to learn should have the right to a free college education.
This would ensure the continuance of our leadership role in the future.

Our health care system should be available to all in need.

By the year 2015, more than half the US population will be over 65
Where will we end up?

We are wasting trillions of dollars supporting an ideologicly misguided military industrial empire
while so much more deserves priority.


What did any of that have to do with the topic?

I personally would never dream of forcing someone who thinks the above to vote.

Also, why would anyone want ill-informed people voting? If they wont take the time to vote without initiating force against them, why would anyone think they would inform themselves properly?



posted on Jan, 8 2005 @ 01:12 AM
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I've got a few mates who are politicans and political advisers(pretty spiffy for a 17 year old lol) for the Labour party of Australia, the Left wing party that is, and they admit that if it wasnt forced voting they'd never win anything...
hope this helps



posted on Jan, 8 2005 @ 01:23 AM
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In Singapore, voting is compulsory.

About 2 mnoths before the elections, an electronic register is put up and the elections office sets up various offices at various places for people to walk in to check if their names are on the electorial register. Overseas missions are also established.

With all that, should someone fail to vote, then their names will be taken off the register for the next election unless and until good reason is provided as to the failure to vote.

It is a right, but if you don't use it, then no point having that right.



posted on Jan, 8 2005 @ 01:47 AM
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Originally posted by dixon

With all that, should someone fail to vote, then their names will be taken off the register for the next election unless and until good reason is provided as to the failure to vote.


Is not supporting either candidate a "good reason?"


It is a right, but if you don't use it, then no point having that right.


It is not for a government to decide what is a right, even you dont exercise that right. As a human, you have certain rights; one of them is to choose your society and leaders. Anything less is to govern by force, and wrong.



posted on Jan, 8 2005 @ 06:57 AM
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Heard of a "spoilt" vote ? Cast the ballot paper but get the instructions wrong or even blank. That's not a problem. Just cast it.



posted on Jan, 8 2005 @ 07:17 AM
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It is my understanding in the Canadian system, that if you go to your polling station and tell them you wished to vote 'no confidence' in any of the candidates, it is recorded as such. Enough of those votes would then disqualify ALL of the candidates and force a new election.

In the situation that all would, like Australia and Singapore (as I am beginning to find out) have to cast a ballot, this twist in voter rights could have an potentially large impact.

Perhaps, over the course of several elections, voters, who in the past had no clue due to apathy, would begin to care about who they voted for. Is this the Australian/ Singapore experience?



posted on Jan, 8 2005 @ 07:27 AM
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Strangely enough, for a tiny dot like Singapore, the right to vote is jealously guarded by the individual citizens.

We were colonised by the British, beat up and surrendered to the Japanese, handed back to the British, abandoned by the British and had no choice but to join Malaya (a Muslim nation) and thereafter in 1965, booted out and became wholly independent.

We had nothing then. Nothing. In these short years, we have built something. Leadership is somehng we take most most seriously. So, often enough, you will get citizens planning their business trips and holidays around the elections.



posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 06:32 PM
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The reason that wouldn't be feasable is because casting a vote blindly would happen. We want responsible voters to vote, not just people casting ballots without even knowing what they are casting them for. Also, I commend people who don't vote as a way of protesting. I voted last november along with 120,000,000 of my fellow citizens, and that will be the last time until the system is changed. First of all besides the fact that cheating had taken place in Ohio and other places, the infrastructure is disasterious. The electoral college was put in place as a safeguard by our founding fathers later on because of certain historical reasons. Did you know that the state representatives don't have to cast their vote towards what the people of their state have voted for to become President/Vice President, but because of tradition they do? In a nutshell,The electors (Senators and Congressmen) of each electee don't have to send their respective electoral college vote toward the electee that has been chosen by the people.
Strange for a Democracy to even give that ability through a loophole, why hasn't that been changed?



posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 06:51 PM
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Mandatory voting is very common throughout the world. Fining of non-voters is not just a deterrent but a statement of the value of this civic duty.

What is also common is high voter turnout in nations where voting is not mandatory but where democracy is valued.

There is also little problem with so-called donkey voting, which is submitting a nonsense or spoiled vote. This amounts to less than a statistically significant component of the vote count. It's better to have 95% of registered electors voting, and have 5% of them spoiling their votes, than to have an apathetic non-voting public.

In the USA, where the electoral system is ostensibly corrupt, and where people are forced to queue for hours on end in polling centres that are deliberately undersupplied with facilities, it would be difficult to require people to vote and to fine them when they do not vote.



posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 07:27 PM
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Thanks for your input, Prince_Machiavelli...

Not being too knowlegeable about American laws regarding elections, I'll have to bone up on the loophole you mentioned regarding the state representatives and the electoral college.

I can only go on ad nausium about Canadian politics, but I'll spare you most of the sad details there.
However, we have a system of 'seats', whereby a province with a small population is able to garner, like in New Brunswick, just a paltry 7 seats in Ottawa. The more populated provinces, Ontario and Quebec, hold the majority of seats and sadly, most federal policies are drawn up primarily in the interests of those who hold the most seats. This causes rifts to form in the outlying provinces and all kinds of talk about 'leaving' thatt we are becoming famous for.

This is also how a 'seperatist' provincial government like the Bloc Quebecous can hold the position of 'Official Opposition' and hog all the time in the house (pushing their agendas) while some of the lesser populated provinces look on with disgust, but yet, have no voice.

I don't know if that relates somehow with the example you're bringing up....

On the point of 'not voting as protest', I wonder what would happen if an American voter turned up and instead of casting a ballot, tore it up in protest.

In Canada, a process begins whereby the 'official' recording your name off the list would have to get out a form and write up a formal protest, which is then sent to the officials presiding over the election as a whole. If enough of these protests are recorded, the election would be nullified, all candidates would then be have to be replaced by 'party elections'.

You say 120,000,000 voters cast a ballot...that's about the same as Canada for turnout...considering the portion of people who are old enough.
If only half the people voted, then it could be assumed the other half either can't be bothered or are 'protest voters' as you say.

But in the long run of things, I'd propose that anyone who does not bother to vote has lost their right to bemoan whatever the elected government might do wrong and, as well, any right to feel they are part of whatever good they may do in the following term.

I my opinion, Dixon has the correct feelings on it. If most Americans had recently fought to the right of a vote, much as some minorities based on imprisonment, race or sex had to, I think a majority would exercise that right every election.

I still think the greatest threat to democracy is apathy...and I do prefer the democratic process to despotism.

masqua



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