Compulsory Voting As A Part Of Advanced Democracy

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Mandatory voting is a political system that requires all citizens to vote in all elections. Those who fail to do may be imposed penalties. These days, mandatory voting is attracting people in the United States. In token of this, Barack Obama, the former president in the U.S., mentioned compulsory voting when he spoke to the students at the University of Chicago Law School in 2016. According to Obama, “We really are the only advanced democracy on earth that systematically and purposely makes it really hard for people to vote.” He said that if the U.S. followed Australia and introduced mandatory voting at elections it would have a transformative impact on America. As he said, mandatory voting has a powerful effect on politics. (Obama) Mandatory voting will enhance democracy, stimulate politicians to think carefully about their policies and help citizens keep up with today’s politics. The government of the U.S. should encourage to establish a system of mandatory voting.

Mandatory voting enhances democracy because it improves not only turnout, but also campaign, polarization, and domination. A large sum of money will decrease, for extravagant campaigns to promote voting are not required anymore. Since the polarization in current days is based on differences based on voters and non-voters, conflicts will be reduced. Also, special interest groups, what is called ‘lobbyist,’ will struggle to abuse power. The fewer the number of people who vote is, the easier for smaller sectional interests and lobby groups to control the outcome of the political process. The mandatory system reduces the influence of lobby groups and lets us free from domination. (Compulsory Voting) Therefore, compulsory voting makes campaigns cheaper, encourages politicians to engage with the electorate whose backgrounds are different from those of candidates, and prevent lobby groups from exercising their power as well as collects votes, thus democracy becomes more moderate.

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Moreover, mandatory voting makes politicians think carefully about their policies. Although the government serves opportunities for the busy such as pre-election-day voting or online voting, still large swaths of Americans do not vote. The reason is that people do not have enough literacy whereas most candidates are well-educated people. According to Chayenne Polimedio, Deputy Director of Political Reform Program, politicians try to appeal to the voters they know they can count on, in other words, white, wealthy, and college-educated Americans. To attract supporters’ attention, policies come to reflect their supporters’ preferences. The non-white, poor, and non-educated people gradually lose interest in politics. In this way, the turnout starts to decline. Proponents of mandatory voting see it as the most straightforward solution to increasing turnout numbers and making elections and, consequently, policies, more equal and inclusive. (Polimedio, C )If voting turns into civic duty, candidates need to think up how they attract people who used to resign right to vote. Candidates would have to make broader and more inclusive messages. Therefore, citizens can expect more fair and refined policies by enforcing mandatory voting.

Another advantage of mandatory voting is to help educate electorates by stimulating all members of the nation. Compulsory voting will encourage voters to examine the candidates' political notions more thoroughly. Everyone is potentially interested in voting and participating in politics. According to William Galston, senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, although there is a case of “donkey voters,” who vote for candidates based only on their order on the ballot, once citizens have to vote, they work harder than they would have. (Galston) Voters who get information and studies a lot will not neglect plans that are unrealistic and will oppose them. Moreover, as mandatory voting will have politicians make policies more understandable, citizens will be less confused with current situations than now. Therefore, mandatory voting has a strong effect on both voters and politicians.

The mandatory voting system will make it in the U.S. too. This is because there are currently 32 countries that compel its citizens to vote. Australia also introduces a mandatory voting system, which is the only English-speaking country among all. Australia is a good successful example. The election after a compulsory voting law was passed in 1925 was totally different from the former election. Political participation rose from fifty-nine percent to ninety-one percent and have kept around ninety-five percent ever since. Those who fail to “show up” and are unable to provide enough reason are required to pay a $15 fine. The idea that some may consider not to vote for anyone does not take seriously, because of over seventy percent of people in Australia support for this system. There is no strong evidence that such a lot of people are casting protest votes or intentionally foolish votes. That is about two or three percent of the electorate. Even if the one is not interested in a vote, it does not matter unless you attend a polling booth. Mandatory voting keeps politics focused on the center.

Political parties must appeal not just to their base but too many people. According to Brett, who is a historian and academic, “it keeps the emotional temper down. That’s become more evident recently with the way politics has gone in the United States, where you’ve had issues around sexuality and race being used to motivate voters. If you need to get out the vote, you need to have things that people are going to feel passionate about, and that’s not necessarily such a good thing.” (Alcorn, G) The example in other countries, especially in Australia suggests that mandatory voting is the finest system which indeed goes as planned.

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Compulsory Voting As A Part Of Advanced Democracy. (2020, November 26). WritingBros. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
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