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Pros and Cons of Compulsory Voting

navajocodetalkersadmin on May 21, 2015 - 5:35 pm in Pros and Cons

Compulsory voting is a law that requires all eligible citizens to register and show up to vote on election day. The most known government that enforces this system is Australia. Anyone who doesn’t show up at the designated voting center is subject to fines, unless they can prove they where ill or unable to attend. This is the government’s way of improving the voter turnout for their elections, especially in areas where voter percentages are extremely low. Many people feel that voting in elections should not be a mandatory act, while many believe it should. In order to truly understand the argument, you must look at it from both sides.

The Pros of Compulsory Voting

1. Makes Voting Easier For Those That Want To Vote
If voting was not mandatory, then employers and schools would not feel inclined to make it easy for people to take the time out of the day to go an vote.

2. Voting Is A Responsibility
While many people view voting as a right, it is truly more of a responsibility. With extremely low voter turnouts, compulsory voting becomes more and more necessary in order to ensure the integrity of democracy.

3. A Wider Campaign Trail
If the candidates know that everyone is required to vote, they are forced to broaden their campaign stances. This helps deeper issues to be addressed.

4. A Decreased Role Of Money
Because elaborate campaigns and massive amounts of money are not needed in order to persuade voters to come out, the role of money in politics and elections would be greatly reduced.

5. Better Educated Voters
Since they are required to vote, many people would become better educated on political and economic issues in order to choose the best candidate. This would improve the overall result of the elections.

6. Reduces Power Of Special Interest Groups
Compulsory voting helps to prevent special interest and lobby groups from voting themselves into power by bringing out their voters. This helps to keep the government well rounded and in the best interest of the people.

The Cons of Compulsory Voting

1. False Sense of Legitimacy
Just because there is a 100 percent voter turn out does not mean that the election or the government in general, is completely legitimate. This would give the government a smoke screen for corruption.

2. Uneducated Voters
Everyone being forced to go out and vote would also include people who have no interest or knowledge of the current issues in the country. This high amount of ignorant voters could cause an undesirable result.

3. Violates Freedom
Voting should be a choice, and just as people have the right to vote, they should also have the right to not vote. By forcing them to vote, you are infringing on their freedoms.

Important Facts About Compulsory Voting

  • There are currently 13 countries that enforce a mandatory voting law.
  • The most recent is Cyprus, which only established compulsory voting in 1960.
  • Many countries, including Belgium and Costa Rica, have compulsory voting laws but they do not actively enforce them.
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