View Poll Results: In your view, should voting be compulsory?

Voters
32. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, for all citizens, in all circumstances.

    4 12.50%
  • Only in special situations, if the voting turnout is too low.

    1 3.13%
  • No, because it undermines the idea of democracy and freedom.

    12 37.50%
  • No, because I don't believe in voting.

    5 15.63%
  • No, for other reason. - Please name it.

    7 21.88%
  • I've an other view.

    3 9.38%
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Thread: Should Non-Voters Be Fined? Should Voting Be Compulsory?

  1. #1
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    Should Non-Voters Be Fined? Should Voting Be Compulsory?

    What's your view on making voting compulsory? Some countries already have compulsory voting, and others are discussing to adopt it. Because in some countries nowadays, especially in the EU, there's a little bit general disinterest in casting the vote citizens are entitled to. What are the pros and cons? Is compulsory voting contradictory in a democracy, something as an oxymoron?

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    Should Non-Voters Be Fined? Should Voting Be Compulsory?

    With voter turnout in the European elections lower than ever, some German politicians are throwing out ideas to up interest in the future. Why not fine the apathetic?

    For those in Europe who are convinced of the efficacy and irreplaceability of the European Union, the statistics on voter turnout in the European parliamentary elections which finished on Sunday made depressing reading. Across the 27-member bloc, just 42.9 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots. That marks the lowest turnout since direct voting began in 1979.

    In a number of Eastern European countries, the total was well below even that. In Romania, just over a quarter of voters voted. In Lithuania, it was just 20.9 percent. And Slovakia solidified its status as the champions of apathy with just 19.6 percent finding their way to the polling stations, though that was an improvement on the 17.4 percent who voted in 2004.

    In Germany, too, turnout was low, at 43.3 percent -- a fact which has now kicked off a discussion in Europe's largest country as to how to encourage more citizens to exercise their right to vote.

    German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble repeated an idea he has voiced before of allowing Europeans to have a direct vote for a European Union president. "If the campaign included a race for a person at the head of Europe, that would clearly generate attention across Europe," Schäuble, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, told the tabloid Bild on Tuesday.

    Elmar Brok, a member of European Parliament, seconded his party colleague, with German parliamentarian Gunther Krichbaum, also of the CDU, suggesting that commissioners likewise be put up for a popular vote.

    Currently, the European Parliament is the only EU body that is subject to popular election. The parliament has gained power in recent years, with the Lisbon Treaty set to grant the body control over more policy areas and hand it greater authority when it comes to spending the bloc's budget. Still, most of the major decisions are made in the European Council, the body which is made up of European heads of state and government. The European Commission, the EU's executive body, is likewise not subject to a direct vote.

    Schäuble's CDU wasn't the only party grumbling about low voter turnout on Tuesday. After their election day debacle, Social Democrats (SPD) have zeroed in on low voter turnout as the least painful explanation for the party's 20.8 percent showing. Germany's SPD parliamentarian Jörn Thiessen has an idea of his own to confront the problem: Fine voters who don't cast their ballots. "We politicians are required to vote in parliament," he told Bild. "One can require the same of voters in an election. Those who don't cast their ballots should be fined €50. A democracy without democrats doesn't work."

    Thiessen's idea is not quite as outlandish as it may sound. Australia has enforced compulsory voting since 1924 and fines people between 20 and 70 Australian dollars should they provide no good reason for not having cast their ballots. Argentina is also a member of the elite, mandatory voting club.

    There are also a few European members in that club, including Luxembourg and Belgium. Their turnouts in the European elections: 91 percent and 90.4 percent, respectively.

    Some, though, are doubtful that such a regime would work as a quick fix. "Using compulsory voting as a solution to low voter turnout in European elections is slightly problematic -- it would send out the wrong message," Julia De Clerck-Sachsse, a researcher at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "The real issue to address first is to make sure there's more awareness of EU issues."
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/...629503,00.html

    Wow, how democratic! Force people to exercise their 'rights'.

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    If it gets people to actually vote, then why not?

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    If it is the law to vote, then actually not voting is taking a stand. When there is no incentive to vote or to not vote (as there is in the EU now), then it doesn't matter if you consciously don't vote -- you are just added into the group of people who are too lazy to vote. Of many of the people who I talk to in the EU, most didn't vote, and it wasn't because they were doing it to say something about the system, it was because they were too lazy. One said he would have if they made it door to door, or over the internet.

    So, it doesn't matter really, it actually makes your case look better if they make it manditory and you don't. That is civil disobedience.

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    If voting is a right, then it's people's right to decide whether they want to exercise it or not. Otherwise it's not a right, but an obligation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BritishWitch View Post
    If it gets people to actually vote, then why not?
    The entire idea of western democracy is based on the idea that individuals vote from the waist up. That is to say that the persons voting are educated and rational in their methods of choosing what to vote for. This is in contrast to the ancient Greek method of the demagogy where people voted from the waist down. IE: They voted based on fear, greed, expectations, anxiety etc. Forcing people to vote isn't going to solve the issue of a low voter turn out. Sort of like how outlawing right-wing parties doesn't solve the issues which caused the founding of such parties. It only creates more and more resentment towards the current system.

    People mock the idea of a king and say how, "he would have to be the embodiment of a philosopher-king conceived by Plato". As oppose to the idea of the philosopher-voter that this entire system was built on. Give me a break.

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    I wonder what would happen if someone refused to vote and pay the fine. They would be sent to prison for not enjoying the marvels of "democracy"?
    THINK! It's not illegal yet.

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    If you left it unpaid long enough the government would likely garnish your wages for the amount.

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    I think that people should keep themselves informed and be concerned enough with their community and the world around them to vote. However, I think especially those ignorant to what is going on in politics and important issues might be better left without giving their opinion.

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    It's only logical for the government to create a law punishing non-voters. After all, the more people refuse to vote, the more apparent it is that the ideal of majority rule is a fraud. By creating many political parties it ensures that the vote is split, while leaving the impression that you have many choices. Democracy -divide and conquer.

    Those who truly oppose the system, know that this can only expose how ridiculous democracy truly is. If you don't vote, just pay the fine.

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