Mandatory Voting in U.S. Coming?

xsedrinam

macrumors 601
Original poster
Oct 21, 2004
4,348
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Would you be for or against compulsory voting laws in U.S. elections?
http://www.aceproject.org/main/english/es/esc07a.htm
"Among the long-standing democracies that make voting compulsory in elections are Australia, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Other well established democratic nations - The Netherlands in 1970 and Austria more recently - repealed such legal requirements after they had been in force for decades. Mandatory voting is also used in Latin America. Examples there include Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. In some countries voting has been made compulsory at the discretion of sub-national governments, or is applied only to certain types of elections."
X
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,647
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Colly-fornia
What's the enforcement mechanism? Jail? And isn't the act of not voting in protest a legitimate action?

IDK, I'm not big on forcing people to do things.
 

blackfox

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2003
1,208
4,030
PDX
for how many candidates?<ahem>


Personally I do not think that Civic participation can be mandated. It is the voluntary effort that makes the experience (and the person) meaningful, thoughtful and relevant.

You cannot coerce someone into thought or engagement in any meaningful way.
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
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Washington, DC
solvs said:
Never happen. You have the right to vote, but you also have the right not to.
Well, except for places where voting is mandatory.

The enforcement is usually a tax, I believe.

I think more could be accomplished by making election say a national holiday and fining any company that does not allow their employees sufficient time to go vote. Same with local elections.
 

Ugg

macrumors 68000
Apr 7, 2003
1,985
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Penryn
miloblithe said:
Well, except for places where voting is mandatory.

The enforcement is usually a tax, I believe.

I think more could be accomplished by making election say a national holiday and fining any company that does not allow their employees sufficient time to go vote. Same with local elections.
I agree, the idea of a weekday election really sucks. Especially for those who work a long ways from where they work. It's a disincentive to vote but the Republicans want to keep it that way so i doubt it'll ever change. Although I'm all in favor of anything that increases the turnout.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
"...the Republicans want to keep it that way so i doubt it'll ever change."

You're gonna have to a whole bunch of explaining for me to take that off my "cockamamie idea of the year" list. After all, the polls are open for twelve hours, and there are also two weeks' worth of time for early voting at (commonly) several places around one's county besides the courthouse. I don't at all see how the present system works to Republican advantage.

I have enough trouble with folks' reasoning that they won't register to vote in order not to be called for jury duty...

Purely personal opinion, with no sort of data: I think that in general, conservatives are less active, politically, than liberals, and thus are more likely to stay home on election day. If I'm anywhere near correct, then, it would be to the Republicans' advantage to have mandatory voting on a Saturday.

Anyhow, the idea of mandatory voting sucks. "Don't vote; it only encourages the bastards!"

:), 'Rat
 

xsedrinam

macrumors 601
Original poster
Oct 21, 2004
4,348
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Desertrat said:
Anyhow, the idea of mandatory voting sucks. "Don't vote; it only encourages the bastards!":), 'Rat
:) So, it's the ol' Q&A from the past:
Q-Which is the greater problem in U.S. politics, ignorance or apathy?
A-I don't know and I don't care.
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mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,647
661
Colly-fornia
Desertrat said:
Purely personal opinion, with no sort of data: I think that in general, conservatives are less active, politically, than liberals, and thus are more likely to stay home on election day. If I'm anywhere near correct, then, it would be to the Republicans' advantage to have mandatory voting on a Saturday.
That's actually untrue AFAIK. I'd have to go looking, but I've read that the Dems actually enjoy a registration advantage, however they suffer from a less-than-reliable voter syndrome much more than the GOP does.

The GOP, with fewer members nationwide, nevertheless can generally turn out a higher percentage of it's members reliably.
 

clayj

macrumors 604
Jan 14, 2005
7,473
180
visiting from downstream
I completely disagree with the idea of mandatory voting. It's bad enough that I, who pay attention to the issues and do my homework regarding the candidates and what they stand for, regularly get my vote nullified by some moron who's picking his nose with one hand while pulling the lever that someone told him to pull with the other.

If it were up to me, you'd have to take (and pass) a short, easy test before being allowed to vote: Identify the candidates, identify their beliefs (multiple choice), etc.

Oh, and there'd be a requirement that all voter registrations be completed, without exception, 60 days before the election. No provisional ballots, no same-day registration, and for damn sure no illegal aliens voting (citizens only). I've had it up to here (gestures at forehead) with election day BS.
 

atszyman

macrumors 68020
Sep 16, 2003
2,442
1
The Dallas 'burbs
Would it be mandatory for all elections? i.e. local, state, and national?

If this is the case then we need to completely re-work the system so that it is easier to vote if you are caught last minute travel plans. There needs to be a way to vote remotely that is easier than absentee ballots. Oregon may have the right idea with voting by mail.

If you are talking strictly on the national elections we could eliminate the electoral college and go by popular vote. This would allow for voting regardless of location since one vote=one vote.
 

xsedrinam

macrumors 601
Original poster
Oct 21, 2004
4,348
1
mactastic said:
For my boogers you pervert. ;)

My goodness this is a mature discussion!
" and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." May seem funny, but it snot :eek:

I'd be concerned where there were elitist, academic requirements (i.e. 'essays') to be passed in order to qualify for voice and vote, although I hear where the argument is coming from.
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fistful

macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2004
892
0
Socan
I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing as long as there is a check box to the effect of: "lousy good for nothing candidates, I'm voting not to vote [x]"
 

Lyle

macrumors 68000
Jun 11, 2003
1,874
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Madison, Alabama
clayj said:
If it were up to me, you'd have to take (and pass) a short, easy test before being allowed to vote: Identify the candidates, identify their beliefs (multiple choice), etc.
Haven't things like that been proposed before? I think it's safe to say that a number of organizations that would shoot that idea down in a heartbeat, claiming that it's discriminatory.
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
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Washington, DC
Lyle said:
Haven't things like that been proposed before? I think it's safe to say that a number of organizations that would shoot that idea down in a heartbeat, claiming that it's discriminatory.
Well, by definition it is discriminatory as it's distinguishing between people who can and can vote. Age requirements are discriminatory too. The key is to justify the discrimination.

There are a number of reasons not to have things like this. First off, who designs and who administers the tests? That alone should be cause enough for worry. Second, it is contrary to democratic principles--the idea that we are all equal under the law (that may not be a concern to elitists, but it should be). Another would be cost, for all the anti-government expansion types, adding another beaurocracy isn't cheap. Yet more reasons... what about some old person who can't read? In my experience as an adult literacy tutor, there are plenty of people who can't read more than a few words (and could read names on a ballot) and who have political opinions. Are you really saying that this person has no right to vote?


I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing as long as there is a check box to the effect of: "lousy good for nothing candidates, I'm voting not to vote [x]"
A lot of countries have "against all" as a choice on the ballot. I'd agree that should be included if there were mandatory voting.


Rat, lots of people have to work two jobs on election day. If you're up at 5 to go to your first job and come home from your second at 10, I'm pretty sure you'll have missed the 12 hour window. Others have long work days. Many people have just one job that keeps them busy all hours and won't have the time to vote. This isn't a huge percentage of the population, of course, but we're probably talking hundreds of thousands of votes, at least.

There are also lots of people who could vote, but are too tired from their jobs and might vote if they had the day off.

There are also people who currently vote, but given the day off might go to the beach. In total, I think having a holiday would increase voter turnout a couple percentage points, but it wouldn't be a huge change. Apathy is the main obstacle.
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,388
7
toronto
miloblithe said:
Well, by definition it is discriminatory as it's distinguishing between people who can and can vote. Age requirements are discriminatory too.
it also discriminates against the illiterate.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
"Republicans will have none of this you can be sure..."

Seems to me the Dems pretty much ran the Congress from the 1930s until 1994...

The deep south had literacy tests. There's an ancient joke about it. No offense intended: A black guy goes to take the literacy test. The test would have overwhelmed a Nobellist in English and Literature. The testee was asked if he knew what the writing meant: "Yassuh. It means no ******'s gonna vote in Mississippi."

For all that my emotional views about voting are elitist, as to owning property or knowing the candidates and issues, there is NO way that any sort of testing before one can vote will ever be fair to all.

And the whole deal is to be as fair as humanly possible. Voting, in many ways, is exercising control over one's destiny. Nobody should be denied that right. That one exercises a right poorly, or doesn't bother to exercise that right, in no way obviates the existence of the right.

I dunno. To me, it's all part of "equality under the law"...

'Rat
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
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Washington, DC
Desertrat said:
For all that my emotional views about voting are elitist, as to owning property or knowing the candidates and issues, there is NO way that any sort of testing before one can vote will ever be fair to all.

And the whole deal is to be as fair as humanly possible. Voting, in many ways, is exercising control over one's destiny. Nobody should be denied that right. That one exercises a right poorly, or doesn't bother to exercise that right, in no way obviates the existence of the right.

Excellently put. On an emotional level, we'd like to disqualify some people (those we think disagree with us), but we know that's not right.