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In Australia for example there is 'Compulsory Voting', were every eligible citizen is legally bound to vote barring exceptional circumstances as it is the 'duty' o a citizen of any representative democracy or republic to ensure they cast their vote and contribute their say to the running of the system. Those who do not vote face fines, public service or even jail time.
Originally posted by Helig
Mandatory voting is a horrible idea I think and here is precisely why. Suppose this system was in place, so I go to my polling place as required, and I look at John Z and Bob R on the ballot for whatever office, and I realize that in fact I don't support either of these candidates and they don't even edge each other out via the lesser-of-two-evils nonsense either. So what choice am I left with but to essentially pick whomever to satisfy the mandatory voting concept?
My biggest problem with this statement is that by forcing people to vote I think Australia is making a mockery of the very word Democracy since they are in fact NOT giving the people the opportunity to state their displeasure with the crop of candidates by not casting a vote. The message such a measure sends (at least in my understanding of how it functions) is that the government in fact does not care whom you vote for as long as you show up and give them your time to do basically a coin-toss.
I don't see how forcing peoples hands onto the lever so to speak would combat disenfranchisement in the very least; I suspect it would actually make it skyrocket because people would just be pulling the lever or pushing the button rather than actually contemplating what they are doing. It would become no different to most people than putting on pants - just something you are expected to do at a specific time on a specific date.
Honestly I wouldn't be surprised to see voting numbers drop in the US in the next election cycle, perhaps even going on to set new lows (kinda like the stock market) and eventually so few people would be pissed at the system and not voting that they will decided to push back in a far more palpable way.