Thoughts on Mandatory Voting

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by aaronvan, May 14, 2015.

  1. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #1
    In the 2012 presidential elections, American voters cast 126,849,296 votes and only about 50% of the U.S. population who could vote, did vote.

    Brazil has 142,000,000 registered voters and they have mandatory voting, albeit it all-electronic voting.

    However, they use Diebold voting machines that are banned in the U.S., Holland, Germany, and--no-kidding--Paraguay.

    If we mandated voting, our large population and vast geography would require an all-electronic voting system. The choice of all-electronic voting system manufacturers would itself become a political issue, along with all the other worries about security, hacking, etc. Not sure how we square that circle.
     
  2. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #2
    Mandatory voting is wrong on so many levels. There is no need to even discuss it.
     
  3. aaronvan thread starter Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #3
    Well, that settles that.
     
  4. noodlemanc macrumors regular

    noodlemanc

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    #4
    Lots of people don't vote because personally they feel that the costs of voting outweigh the benefits. Forcing people to vote is merely trying to treat the symptom.
     
  5. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #5
  6. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #6
    In the Netherlands it was abandoned in 1967.

    Voting in a free society should be free, also if you don't want to take part.

    That's what real freedom is about.
     
  7. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #7
    My thoughts:
    1. Good luck making it mandatory.
    2. Open source
    3. Authentication of the entity submitting the vote is a much more difficult security issue than most realize.
     
  8. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #8
    I don't believe in mandatory voting, but something has to be done in an effort to get more people in the voting booth.

    It was frustrating as hell in November when 28% of Texans showed up to vote for our Governor. Pathetic. This is something that needs to change.
     
  9. Scepticalscribe, May 14, 2015
    Last edited: May 15, 2015

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #9
    As someone who has worked in a number of continents as an election observer/monitor/supervisor (the exact title depends on one's precise mandate), over the past two decades, I have to say that there is a vast and considerable continuum between 'compulsory' voting on the one hand, and turn-outs of 50% allied to subtle obstacles which deter, or make it more difficult, for people from certain areas and regions to cast a ballot, on the other.

    When devising electoral systems, and registers, and planning electoral contests, there are huge differences between institutions which actively promote participation, and those which seek to prevent or otherwise thwart participation in the electoral process.

    Although it happened a full 15 years ago, what was allowed to happen in Florida in 2000 was an absolute scandal and a disgrace for a country with the proud history of the US.

    Worse, it served to undermine the authority of those of us who observe elections abroad using nothing but 'soft power' to implement our mandate. This is because if you are not seen - in your own countries - to wish to or want to uphold the standards you claim to believe in and live by and adhere to, your moral authority and credibility is worth less than nothing when you are commenting on the electoral process elsewhere.
     
  10. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #10
    Trial by combat is a time-honored tradition.

    The top two vote-getters have a cage match with bladed or blunt weapons only. No firearms. I realize this restriction likely violates an unwritten Texas rule, but so be it.

    Alternative: top two vote-getters have a duel with single-action revolvers at 20 paces. The single-action restriction is to make it more interesting if the first shot misses.

    Oh, and sell the television rights to the highest bidder, all proceeds going to a public election fund.

    One of the more interesting side-effects would be that smaller more agile candidates with pistol skills would be more electable. A candidate like Chris Christie would be interesting, because his opponents might vote for him on the off chance he'd get, um, offed.
     
  11. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #11
    That would have been interesting, as our Governor is currently sitting in a wheelchair and has been for a while. :eek:
     
  12. burgundyyears macrumors 6502

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    #12
    We don't need more to pass more laws to make people criminals. Pass.
     
  13. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #13
    Well mandatory voting is one thing.

    However, to my mind, removing as many obstacles as possible from active participation (such as a properly maintained and up to date voters' register, more polling stations, easily accessible - both inside and outside - polling stations, properly trained staff, longer opening hours - in my country polling stations are currently open between 07:00 to 22:00) is quite another, and is a very necessary step, especially if your aim is to make access to registration and voting as easy as possible.
     
  14. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    #14
    I agree with you about removing obstacles. There is no reason someone should have to wait in a line for hours to cast a vote. This directly discourages lower income/hourly wage workers from participating.

    There are so many simple ways to remove these obstacles. More voting machines is expensive, but an option. Less expensive options are to expound voting hours. Go from 6 am to 10pm. Hold elections on a Weekend and/or allow voting for an entire week at your local precinct.

    Of course, the conventional wisdom is that the more voters who turn out, the more likely they are to vote for Democrats. So naturally there isn't a lot of enthusiasm to make any sort of voting reform right now on a national or even a statewide level.
     
  15. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #15
    The other thing worth noting is that countries where mandatory voting does occur, tend to hold their elections on a Sunday, which is a factor which further encourages mass participation in the electoral process.
     
  16. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #16
    I'm not American, so please excuse my unfamiliarity of the system. My understanding is that on voting day most Americans vote for practically everything - from President to Senators and House Representatives, to State Legislatures and Governors, and perhaps even local level offices as well. Is this true?

    I agree with Scepticalscribe, and believe the best way to get more people voting is to make it easier to vote, and to build trust that the system is working.

    There may be a couple of things to be learned from your northern cousins.

    In Canada we have 3 different and separate elections, one for each level of government. On Federal voting day I have one ballot to cast - for my MP. Same for Provincial voting day... one ballot for one office. Local elections tend to package several ballots together since we are voting for municipal, school board, etc.

    It makes for really simple voting procedure. So simple we still use paper and pencils for Federal and probably most Provincial elections, and generally get our results that night. And fast. I only every wait 10 or 15 minutes at most to vote. Employers have to ensure that their employees have 4 hours off during voting hours.

    In BC (where I live) the Province and Federal and governments cooperate on keeping a joint voters list (which is also shared with the Municipal voting organizations) and it is tied to various government forms - so that if a registered voter moves their address on the voter's list is updated automatically. Just to make sure I'm on the list, I get a card in the mail shortly before the election confirming my name and address. If I don't get a card I know that I have to follow up and get myself registered.

    Also... There are two Canadians who are legally forbidden from voting at the Federal level - even though they meet all other eligibilities. One is the Governor-General for historical reasons that don't matter to this discussion. But the other one is the Chief Elections Officer. The person running the election is supposed to be so totally non-partisan that they are not even allowed to cast a vote. This means - in theory - that the rules of the election are held to be more important than the politicians. I think it helps maintain trust in the system.

    I have often wondered at the shenanigans that the people in charge of elections in the US get away with and thought that it was much like a hockey game where the fans in the stand get to vote on who the referees will be.
     
  17. caesarp macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    First lets get out of the 1950s style of voting where we go to schools and churches (on a work day), stand in slow lines to use antiquated machines, where little old ladies sit at tables and act as guardians of democracy. Get it securely on the Internet where we can vote in our jammies and not miss work. Then we could potentially discuss mandatory. Because if it was mandatory at that point, I wouldn't care.
     
  18. aaronvan thread starter Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #18
    Internet voting is inevitable but it's going to bring with it a whole host of problems, not least of which will be the losing candidate team will cry "The vote wuz hacked!" after every election. And sometimes they will be correct.

    Election day should be a national holiday, in any case.
     
  19. Macky-Mac, May 15, 2015
    Last edited: May 15, 2015

    Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #19
    I'm in favor of removing obstacles, but if somebody doesn't want to vote, then that's their choice

    depends on where you are, but elections can indeed cover the full range you listed

    what we've learned is that even fewer voters turn out for local elections when they're held separately from state elections. Here in Los Angeles we've had local elections on a completely separate schedule from state elections for decades. The turn-out has been so low that now the intention is to move our local elections to the same schedule as state level elections in an attempt to make it easier to attack more voters for local elections
     
  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #20
    Ironically local politicians usually have the most impact.
     
  21. snorkelman macrumors 6502a

    snorkelman

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    #21
    I don't think compulsory voting should be entertained without a 'none of the above option' being on every ballot paper.

    Otherwise I can see quite a few votes going to whoever stands as a candidate for a 'Stick Your Compulsory Voting Where The Sun Dont Shine Party'
     
  22. aaronvan thread starter Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #22
    Instant runoff would be good.
     
  23. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #23
    Here is a thought, a foot-note from the archives, if you like.

    Communist Russia - well, to be more precise, the old Soviet Union - actually did have a 'none of the above' option on their ballots.

    However, in order to feel sufficiently safe in the knowledge that you could use it without fearing having to face unjust retribution from the wrathful state, took quite some time. In fact, it was not until the time Mr Gorbachev served as General Secretary of the CPSU that Soviet voters began to feel sufficiently emboldened to use this feature on their ballots in any significant number.
     
  24. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    #24
    An instant runoff would save so much time and taxpayer money. And it could really change the strategy that goes into campaigns. I don't see the downside to it.
     
  25. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #25
    If people aren't interested enough in the political process to vote, then we shouldn't force them to. What's worse, someone not voting, or someone who has so little interest that they go into a voting booth, close their eyes, and randomly pick a candidate?

    And if there's a "none of the above" option, well, then what's the point?
     

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