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Compulsory Voting in the USA?

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posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 10:30 AM
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In 2008 record numbers showed up at the polls to elect Barack Hussein Obama.

The number of voters was 130 million voters, or 64% of the population. link

According to Politico (linked above) this is the highest number of voters in generations, beating out the 50-some % that voted in the 2004 election between Kerry and Bush, also in its time a record number of voters turning out.

But today our record number of voters in a country that prides itself on the ideal of democracy is between 50%-65%?

Is that not a bit disappointing? Don't you think things may be working a bit differently if we ALL were participating?

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.

So, why not do this in the USA. Make voting day a national holiday and send everyone to the polls to vote, everyone.

Do you Americans think this would be an infringement on your right to freedom?

Do you think this should even be a question about freedom as participation in your system is requisite to freedom?

Personally I think it is an ideal situation. Today in the USA I see disenfranchisement on the rise. What better way to counter the move to make it increasingly difficult for we the people to speak than make it mandatory and thus the burden falls squarely on the lap of the 'elected' representatives to ensure we all get the chance on election day, it would be the law after all.

Your thoughts?




posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 11:01 AM
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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?


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.


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.



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 11:12 AM
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I'm not American but I hope no one minds me chipping in.

I'd like to see mandatory voting for my country. However, I'd like the voting system to be amended so it can include a 'none of the above' option to legally acknowledge (and register/count) discontent with the choice of candidates.

I don't have a problem with this being 'undemocratic' as the current 'first past the post' system is clumsy 'democracy' to begin with and I think the chance to have a registered and counted 'none of the above' vote would redress a lot of the reasons as to why a lot of people don't vote in the first place.



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 11:22 AM
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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?


Using Australia as the example once again, voting is PRIVATE. What you do with your ballot once they give it to you is ENTIRELY up to you. You can deface it, write in candidates or what ever makes you happy as long as YOU SHOW UP TO VOTE.

You are not being forced to vote for anyone you do not like, you are just being forced to vote. Everything would work the same way as it does now EXCEPT it would be mandatory for you to show up, think write-ins.





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.


Acutally you DO NOT HAVE TO VOTE FOR ANY CANDIDATE IN AUSTRIALIA. You are reading WAY too much into this mate. I am sorry but your remarks against the idea are stacking up against you as apparently the only thing you can see is the dictatorial elements of this system, which sorry to say, do not exist.

If you don't like any of the candidates for Office-X in Australia, guess what, you don't choose any of them.... it really is quite simple. Here in the USA we, as I mentioned above, have a dandy little thing called the ability to write in candidates.



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.


And you base this thought on what? Your own lackadaisical view on life? Please...



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.


It wouldn't be a surprise at all, and that is why I raised the topic. Isn't it about time we retaught our children about the DUTY one has in a democracy to participate in the system?



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 01:55 PM
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I would be all for teaching children to participate however I refuse to give them false hopes and support a system that is nowhere near sorted out. Voter fraud is real and it most certainly happens here in the US. Then there is the little matter of the fact that roughly have of the states have no law in place to force their Electors in the Electoral Collage to vote according to how the majority of the citizens in their district/zone/whatever voted. Then of course we have the mostly nonviable third party options, especially in the Presidential election.

Briefly returning to the Australia example I find it rather bizarre to bother to require people to show up and go through the motions of voting under threat of fines just to essentially waste the materials necessary to vote if they choose not to cast a vote. I completely respect the rights of Australians to do whatever they please in their country but it seems kind of a waste of time really to force roughly 5% of the population to go vote when they really have no desire to given that they cast Informal Votes (blank or improperly filled out ballots - fyi for others).

Before I would see forced voting I would much rather see all the problems in voting and its related fields sorted out first, because what good is a car dealership if every car you purchase turns out to have sawdust in the engine.



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 03:16 PM
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reply to post by Helig
 


*Yawn*

....second line



posted on Apr, 8 2009 @ 10:51 AM
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That would have tremendous policy implications, due to the fact that poor people are disproportionately less likely to vote.

It might usher in a permanent Democratic majority.



posted on Apr, 8 2009 @ 12:46 PM
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Not voting IS voting- it's casting the "i don't give a crap" vote. Unless they'll give that option on the ballot, I don't think compulsory voting is a good idea.



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