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  1. #1

    Would compulsory voting help change America's political woes?

    There aren't many forms of obligation I support being levied against citizens of any country.

    Here's a rare one I found that I agree with.

    Several countries, including Australia, have compulsory voting laws.

    In case you don't know what that means, it means you are not just eligible to, but legally obligated to vote in elections.

    I think, if the voting procedure were made less of a time investment (Go to polling booth, wait in line, cast vote) and everything could be done by mail or (better yet) the internet, our political landscape would be changed for the better.

    Every voice (Or near enough as makes no difference) in the country would be heard and parties would have to work harder to continue to appeal to their constituents. Instead of a Republican who hated Romney simply staying home on election day, they would HAVE to go to the polls and cast a vote for someone other than him.

    Every vote lost would directly translate into a vote for someone else.

    I think it would be a great way to force the Republican party to turn around and make itself relatable to the masses.

  2. #2
    Moderator Kasierith's Avatar
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    The only problem I could see with that is enforcement; how do you know who to give the vote to if someone did not come at all? And if people have no interest in their civic duties as it is, and are ok with standing in the rear and complaining about the system that they have done nothing to change.... how are you going to force people to come out and vote? If you force it by something such as fines or jail time, what if the person is actually a conscientious objector to both of two candidates, and despite being fully educated finds voting for either one morally reprehensible? It's a good thought, I think, but I don't really see it being possible to implement.
    “…the whole trouble lies here. In words, words. Each one of us has within him a whole world of things, each man of us his own special world. And how can we ever come to an understanding if I put in the words I utter the sense and value of things as I see them; while you who listen to me must inevitably translate them according to the conception of things each one of you has within himself. We think we understand each other, but we never really do.”
    XKCD is always relevant. Always.

  3. #3
    Stood in the Fire Dillon's Avatar
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    It's bad enough that a lot of voters are uneducated and are completely unawares of the actions of their chosen politicians, but would you really want people who can't be arsed to vote as it stands now electing people for political office?

    I understand the principal and in a way I agree that everyone should vote, but compelling people under force of law to do much of anything goes against my most fundamental opinions.
    I'm a gun-toting, Constitution clinging American atheist, in that order.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasierith View Post
    The only problem I could see with that is enforcement; how do you know who to give the vote to if someone did not come at all? And if people have no interest in their civic duties as it is, and are ok with standing in the rear and complaining about the system that they have done nothing to change.... how are you going to force people to come out and vote? If you force it by something such as fines or jail time, what if the person is actually a conscientious objector to both of two candidates, and despite being fully educated finds voting for either one morally reprehensible? It's a good thought, I think, but I don't really see it being possible to implement.
    Fuck if I know. Let's ask Australia.

    Hey Australia. How do you enforce compulsory voting?

  5. #5
    Scarab Lord Arkenaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasierith View Post
    The only problem I could see with that is enforcement; how do you know who to give the vote to if someone did not come at all? And if people have no interest in their civic duties as it is, and are ok with standing in the rear and complaining about the system that they have done nothing to change.... how are you going to force people to come out and vote? If you force it by something such as fines or jail time, what if the person is actually a conscientious objector to both of two candidates, and despite being fully educated finds voting for either one morally reprehensible? It's a good thought, I think, but I don't really see it being possible to implement.
    Have you ever actually voted? It's not just "this guy or that" you can even make a protest vote if you really hate them all.

  6. #6
    Forcing people to vote sounds like a bad idea to me, we already have people who vote uninformed or under-informed. If we should force the population to do anything in regards to voting it would be to spend several hours looking over the policy and history of the candidates.
    Proud member of the zero infraction club (lets see how long this can last =)

  7. #7
    Herald of the Titans theredviola's Avatar
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    With the rampant misinformation spread through-out the media (I'm looking at you Fox "news" and MSNBC), and the shear number of uninformed voters, compulsory voting would only make a bad situation worse I'm afraid.
    "Do not only practice your art, but force yourself into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine." -- Ludwig Van Beethoven

  8. #8
    Wouldn't this cause the large majority of people who don't pay the slightest bit of attention to politics to vote for either Romney/Obama randomly and the small percentage of people who payed attention to the news and know who is who shrink down?

  9. #9
    The thing you don't realize though is that in Australia for instance it isn't actually forced voting. It means you have to show up at the polling station and have your name ticked off the rolls. You don't actually have to vote. So the only thing it does is force people to go somewhere when they have no intention of voting for whatever their reasons may be.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by goobernoob View Post
    Forcing people to vote sounds like a bad idea to me, we already have people who vote uninformed or under-informed. If we should force the population to do anything in regards to voting it would be to spend several hours looking over the policy and history of the candidates.
    I don't think it would be as bad as all that.

    I would imagine the distribution of information/intelligence is about the same between people who vote and people who stay home.

  11. #11
    The Insane Catta's Avatar
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    No it wouldn't. However it would probably help if you did away with the voter registration and allowed for more parties to emerge by changing the voting method.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Azraele61 View Post
    The thing you don't realize though is that in Australia for instance it isn't actually forced voting. It means you have to show up at the polling station and have your name ticked off the rolls. You don't actually have to vote. So the only thing it does is force people to go somewhere when they have no intention of voting for whatever their reasons may be.
    If you're already at the polls why the hell not vote?

  13. #13
    Titan apepi's Avatar
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    I would rather people have to take a test to be able to be able to vote. It would be way much better then making everyone vote...
    Time...line? Time isn't made out of lines. It is made out of circles. That is why clocks are round. ~ Caboose

  14. #14
    Absolutely not. The last people in the world I want voting are people that can't be bothered to given how easy it already is. If anything, I'd rather discourage people from voting and knock it off with telling everyone to vote. The part where it takes a well informed person to cancel out a moron sucks.

  15. #15
    Moderator Kasierith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkenaw View Post
    Have you ever actually voted? It's not just "this guy or that" you can even make a protest vote if you really hate them all.
    Alright than, simpler issue. Local laws, such as property taxes allocated towards a local zoo. Yes or no, can't really write in something for that.
    “…the whole trouble lies here. In words, words. Each one of us has within him a whole world of things, each man of us his own special world. And how can we ever come to an understanding if I put in the words I utter the sense and value of things as I see them; while you who listen to me must inevitably translate them according to the conception of things each one of you has within himself. We think we understand each other, but we never really do.”
    XKCD is always relevant. Always.

  16. #16
    in a way, I agree and disagree. Making things by mail or internet opens the system up for fraud on so many levels. And the simple fact that a lot of people just hate the system we have in place entirely. As an example, the 2 party system we have in place. It's asinine that we aren't at the 1 vote person system at this point the in country history. I understand why the electoral college was put in place, but let's face it, at this point it's outdated and needs to go. With a system like that it lends itself to a point where every vote doesn't count, basically like what happened in Florida when Bush won. Both candidates worked extremely hard to get the others votes taken away, just plain bad form

    I haven't voted in any election in about 20years because I recognize that the basic reality is that my vote doesn't count, and add that my cynics nature also throws out there that a lot of the changes happening, I see the flaws in but can't do anything about. IE the health care changes are basically going to hurt the average worker. It's going to destroy the full-time hourly employee. And all it's done so far is raise the health care costs of the individual. Basically the opposite of what it was designed to do. And that's one of the primary reasons Obama was elected. We are worse that where we were with Bush.

    And making it mandatory means I would have had to vote for Obama or Romney? 2 bad choices. Remember the South Park episode for the new mascot, voting for a giant douche or a turd sandwich. That's basically what each election comes down to. Forcing people to vote for this is not good for the country.

    However, if the people did have more control over the laws and had better things to vote on, then I'd be all for it.

    edit: add that if there were an option to say both candidates weren't worth voting for, then I would get behind that also.
    Last edited by anyaka21; 2013-01-15 at 01:15 AM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Spectral View Post
    Absolutely not. The last people in the world I want voting are people that can't be bothered to given how easy it already is. If anything, I'd rather discourage people from voting and knock it off with telling everyone to vote. The part where it takes a well informed person to cancel out a moron sucks.
    Who do you think is more likely to vote? A well-informed voter who votes blue in Texas? Or a fucking idiot in New Hampshire who votes red?

    The democrat in Texas knows his vote doesn't matter. The idiot in New Hampshire doesn't care.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Laize View Post
    I don't think it would be as bad as all that.

    I would imagine the distribution of information/intelligence is about the same between people who vote and people who stay home.
    Even if that is correct, which I doubt, that would provide no reason to force someone to vote.
    making election day a national holiday or expanding the laws that require employers to give time off for voting to be more convenient sound reasonable, but forcing someone to express an opinion even if they don't have one sounds counter productive to me.
    Proud member of the zero infraction club (lets see how long this can last =)

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Laize View Post
    I would imagine the distribution of information/intelligence is about the same between people who vote and people who stay home.
    I think that's quite wrong. There's a significant correlation between educational attainment and likelihood of voting.

  20. #20
    Scarab Lord Arkenaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apepi View Post
    I would rather people have to take a test to be able to be able to vote. It would be way much better then making everyone vote...
    We tried that before, it ended up with the creation of the 24th amendment

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