SHOULD VOTING BE MANDATORY?

WHAT RESPONSIBILITIES COME WITH DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS?

In Australia and Belgium, once those eligible to vote reach the age of majority, voting is mandatory. Those who don’t like the candidates, can refuse a ballot at the poll.

“Every citizen’s duty is to participate in decision-making.” Australia.

Good for Canada?  Any pros? Any cons?

START THE DEBATE!

​THE CON ARGUMENT ON MANDATORY VOTING​–Rob Smith

 

what is the use of forcing people to vote if they don’t want to. it will not provide a more representative outcome or more engaged citizenry. it may have the opposite effect of driving people further away from being actively involved. if citizens are not engaged with their political system forcing them to vote against their will would only be counterproductive.

more concentration on education about systems of government and social participation would be more effective.

rather than force participation you could might get a better result from restricting participation.

when sectors of society were forcibly disenfranchised  ie women, non land owners, slaves there was an active often violent struggle to achieve the right to vote.

another route might be to bar life politicians. no person could stand or be elected more than twice in a lifetime. there would be no ‘vested’ intrests and people might begin to believe that a vote was consequential.

as the system works now politicians promise anything to anyone then only do what is needed to get re-elected the next time. this breeds deep cynicism in the people and drives home that there is no use in voting as nothing changes.

lack of voter interest is a symptom not a cause.

​THE PRO ARGUMENT ON MANDATORY VOTING​–Steve Needleman (American citizen)

You ask me, a foreigner, if what they do in Australia and Belgium is good for Canada ; I can only say that it would be great for the U.S.A. As for Canada, I can  believe it would be a plus. The only change I would make to the law is the ability to refuse a ballot. I am not in favor of the absence of something, such as an blank ballot or a non response to a letter, having a definitive meaning. In Nevada,  all election ballots for every position being voted on, there always is a candidate whose name is “none of the above”. Mr./Ms None of the above has never won nor are they allowed win an election. It is a positive way of casting a negative vote. Yet it is a registered vote.

The pros……. The percent of voters participating in U.S. presidential elections is now between 50 and 60 percent. Our off year elections (midterm) turnout is between 30 to 40 percent. Canadian election turnout has gone from a high of 79% in the late 50’s and early 60’s to a current range of 61% to 68%.  Both countries, Canada and the U.S.A. would have the participation rate increase and possibly may have induced some intelligent voters to actually vote for change rather than believing that their vote has had no meaning in the past, so why vote. .
As for the cons……. people may say that in democracy one should not force an individual to vote…… I ask why not….. we force or make people take a driving test, we force people to get licenses for various occupations, we force people to get an education or if not an education, we force them to go to school.The list of what we make our citizens of our democracies are required to do goes on and on.
If the fear of requiring all citizens who have reached the age of majority  to vote signifies to some  that we are forcing the uneducated to vote and then the quality of representation will falter  implies that only the educated vote now. If this is the case, at least in the U.S., look where our voting “educated” got us. What is needed in addition to mandatory voting are  mandatory classes given in our schools about why each of us MUST  vote and why not voting in elections actually takes away your right to justly protest your elected representative in all levels of government.
 What do I know…… I’m a foreigner who has voted in every election since I was allowed to and look at what its brought me ……  but when I vote again in the coming election maybe I can get it to change…. there’s always hope.
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