Should voting be mandatory?Marvin the Martian 31 comments
Two days remain until the next Australian federal election. Australians will be sent to the polls to elect the next leader and the choice comes down to two individuals, both with very similar platforms, both with dubious pasts.
In Australia, citizens are required - by law - to vote and I find this curious. On one side, forcing people to vote means that the final tally is a representation of the entire electorate and therefore make the results of the vote more valuable and representative of true democracy. On the other hand, it also means that those who are ignorant of the issues or simply fear the penalty for not voting (typically a monetary fine) will vote arbitrarily.
Personally, I can see both sides of the issue. I think having more people vote is a good thing, but forcing people to vote leads to problems. I am more concerned that people will vote arbitrarily to avoid the penalties and stick us with a government that will guide us in the wrong direction than I am about fewer people voting.
If we are truly living in a democracy, some say it is our requirement to vote. I say it is our right to vote. If we have the freedom to choose, we have the freedom not to choose. In other words, the right to vote should be a choice.
I for one have never missed an election in Canada, but I had a vested interest in the outcome of the electoral process and was educated on the issues at hand and those seeking to lead our country. In Australia, I am not as well versed on the intricacies of the Australian way of life and do not fully understand all of the issues. Those that I do understand, there are no parties currently engaged in the election process that represent my beliefs. But by Australian law, I am required to vote.
In the end, I will do what many are forced to do, simply to avoid being punished for a choice I should be able to make on my own. In the end I will vote in protest for no one. I will have to take time out of my schedule and wait in line, simply not to vote, but instead ensure that my name is checked on the rolls to prevent being punished.
How do Limers feel about this? If you live in a country where voting is optional, do you take advantage of your opportunity or squander it? Do you feel there are no parties to represent your views? What if you lived in Australia, how would you deal with this? If you are an Aussie, how will you be voting, or will you simply show up to avoid getting fined?