Since voting is such an important part of a Democracy, should it be mandatory to vote for all eligible voters to solve the alarmingly low voter turnouts?

Voting in most cultures is a democratic act. Therefore forcing people to vote makes no sense in that light.

There should be a mandatory option on the ballot which reads something like this:
"I assert my right to vote, but I cannot at this time support any of the candidates listed".

Too often, the choices on the ballot are like being asked "choose how you want to die". At the moment, the only choice is for people to stay away. If there were a real option of telling all the politico's "YOU ALL SUCK", then a lot more people might show up to vote.

A significant problem is how safe the seat is. The safer the seat, the less effort the politico's spend on trying to win the votes and the less attention everyone gets. Advances in demographic predictions basically mean the real battleground can be isolated to a few key constituencies. If the vote in your area appears to be a foregone conclusion, people are going to be less likely to vote.

What should be banned is carping about the result if you didn't bother to vote in the first place.

Perhaps a "carrot" approach would work. If you vote, you pay 1% less tax.

commented: "choose how you want to die". Old age, thank you very much. +3

No matter who you choose, they all come under the same category of 'politician'. And according to me, a politician is one who cheats people and eat their money !

ballets should have the option "None of the above". And if that gets the majority of votes then a new election must be called within a year and all candidates on the previous ballet are ineligible for the new election.

commented: I like the "ineligible" part :) +12

ballets should have the option "None of the above". And if that gets the majority of votes then a new election must be called within a year and all candidates on the previous ballet are ineligible for the new election.

great idea!

anyone who is capable of voting has the right to vote and forcing someone to vote is abuse of his/her fundamental right.

I'm all for forcing people to vote, but only if you also force politicians to actually live up to their election promises...

As politicians by definitions don't do the latter, the former should not be a requirement either.

Blank voting is always possible here. When using paper ballots just turn in the blank ballot form. When using electronic voting, there's always an option to vote blank here.
Yet it's hardly ever used. Everyone realises that a blank vote is effectively a vote for the largest liar, aka the one who wins the elections.

I'm with jwenting, I always hear people in like restaurants and things go on about "gah i hate this government" , then the person they are having the conversation asked who they voted for, and are replied with "I don't vote". It just makes that person seem pointless, they are arguing about something they could have tried to avert if they would have voted. If they would have voted for a party then they can moan about the current government. It seems daft for someone who doesn't use their right to vote, and then complain about what they could have joined into.

In most parts of the US voting day is a workday, giving the normal worker only a short time to stand in line and vote. Some states have made it easier to vote by mail and have extended computerized voting time. So yeah, making it easier to vote might help the working public.

Wonder if voting via the internet will ever be possible?

Giving everyone that votes a check for $100 could be an easy solution too, and would help the economy.

Giving everyone that votes a check for $100 could be an easy solution too, and would help the economy.

I don't know about that. It sure does seem like a waste of tax money and then you get people voting just because they will get money, which means they probably will not make a choice, they will just vote for whichever name sounds the coolest, without any regard for what that person might stand for.

Voting via the internet is currently being experimented with in several countries.
It is possible, but there are still security issues to be overcome (especially how to make certain that the person casting the vote is really the person he says she is, to prevent people selling their access votes to the highest bidder).

> It sure does seem like a waste of tax money
So you get back what shouldn't have been taken from you in the first place.

Governments should only be taking what they need. Not fleecing you right after the election so they can build up a buffer to then bribe you with your own money come the next election. What, you mean you didn't realise that happened!?

> In most parts of the US voting day is a workday,
It's the same here (UK). It would be better to have a public holiday where everyone gets to participate.

Maybe the vote should take place for a week so that everyone could have the chance to vote. That would then eliminate excuses like "i couldn't vote, i had to work". Unless people work on off-shore oil rigs or something then nobody could say there wasn't the opportunity to vote. OR as sneekula suggested, vote on the internet. That would solve a lot of issues, but create a whole set of new ones.

Forcing people to vote when they are completely uneducated on the issue does not help a thing. If, by law, they had to go in and make a choice then it would just add random noise to the data or, even worse, ruin some elections that truly should go one way or the other on a broad consensus of educated individuals.

When the ballot is merely a random choice list presented to uninterested, uneducated fools who are forced to participate against their will, democracy is subverted far worse than by a lack of participation.

Forcing people to vote means violently attacking the people who didn't vote. These people will be violently attacked without having committed any misdeed upon others. That is evil, and so is the desire to force others to conform to your personal lifestyle choices.

Forcing people to vote means violently attacking the people who didn't vote. These people will be violently attacked without having committed any misdeed upon others. That is evil, and so is the desire to force others to conform to your personal lifestyle choices.

I don't really see where the violent attacks come in, but i do agree with the general sentiment

People would not vote so the only way to get them to vote would be to harm them physically, hence the violence.

People would not vote so the only way to get them to vote would be to harm them physically, hence the violence.

Although I'm not for the idea, I like to think that there are other ways of "forcing" people to vote.

You don't have to harm people physically in order to get them to do what you want.

Punishment would be that you are not getting the token gift ($100 check, the day off or cookies and milk) of appreciation for voting.

To prevent fools from voting is difficult right now too. Voter exams have been outlawed in previous times.

To prevent fools from voting is difficult right now too. Voter exams have been outlawed in previous times.

For reasonably good reasons.

And besides, don't the foolish deserve representation in the government as well?

And besides, don't the foolish deserve representation in the government as well?

Well, "deserve" may be a subject of debate, but the foolish have certainly carried the day with our current representation :P

Although I'm not for the idea, I like to think that there are other ways of "forcing" people to vote.

You don't have to harm people physically in order to get them to do what you want.

No, it comes down to violence no matter what. Either you entice people to vote with the money you stole from them through taxes, or you punish people through fines. And if they rightfully refuse to pay the fines, they get arrested or their property confiscated.

No, it comes down to violence no matter what. Either you entice people to vote with the money you stole from them through taxes, or you punish people through fines. And if they rightfully refuse to pay the fines, they get arrested or their property confiscated.

But that's not violence :D

how to make certain that the person casting the vote is really the person he says she is.

Are you saying that most male voters are confused about their sexual orientation :)

And besides, don't the foolish deserve representation in the government as well?

They already are representated -- most politicians are very foolish and squander our hard-earned tax dollars. Like that highway in Alaska that went to nowhere.

Voting via the internet is currently being experimented with in several countries.
It is possible, but there are still security issues to be overcome (especially how to make certain that the person casting the vote is really the person he says she is, to prevent people selling their access votes to the highest bidder).

There's also issues of anonymity and secure transmission of the votes. Almost anything on the internet can be messed up with a man-in-the-middle attack, and a good many users don't know enough about how to avoid these.

Are you saying that most male voters are confused about their sexual orientation :)

nah, just giving a friendly nod to our transsexual countrycreatures.

There's also issues of anonymity and secure transmission of the votes. Almost anything on the internet can be messed up with a man-in-the-middle attack, and a good many users don't know enough about how to avoid these.

I'd say that's a massive bonus for the government. They'd know who cast each vote (easier to pick up the troublemakers who voted for the wrong party) and are now able to without most people realising it's even possible manipulate the vote before it ever reaches their computer systems, reducing the risk of being detected.

You see, I've no delusions about theories like the outcome of elections here having anything to do with the way people actually vote and haven't had such delusions for over a decade.

You could be right jwenting, it seems that elections are rigged in favor of the group that spends the most money. Obviously, the folks who give the spending money have much to gain.

One could argue, that it would be nice for the voter to have his/her vote bought outright. That would increase voter participation.