Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Livin_on_a_prayer, Apr 25, 2006.

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  1. Voting in general elections should be made compulsory, with a choice of a "none of them" vote; if people dont like any of the party or decide to send a protest vote. If everyone had voted I do not think labour would have won the election, they win because so many people cant be arsed to get up and walk to the polling stations. Make it compulsory!
  2. Btw, there was an option 'against all' in Russian ballots but it was removed recently. Reason: this 'cabdidate' became too popular.
  3. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    Its probably true. In Australia where voting is compulsory the conservative equivalents which is John Howards government win time and again.

    But there is no way Labour are going to reform the voting system if they might lose, would you?
  4. I dont know, the power would have probably gone too far into my head :p but yeah I think it would strengthen democracy and create a more representitive parliment.
  5. Only if it combines with secure yet convenient ways of voting!

    Something online would be very useful as I missed the last one as i was away on business!!!

  6. I had a conversation with Mrs Jim about this. As Ord Sgt said, in Australia voting in general elections is compulsory and the penalty for non-compliance is a fine. Actually it’s not the voting that’s compulsory but attendance at the polling station – you are free to spoil your paper or make similar protest gestures. It seems to work well because once at the polling station people think ‘now I’ve made the journey here I’m here what the heck, I might as well vote’.

    Admittedly this system would take time to bed in here in the UK and people would object to it. They’d probably object on human rights grounds, which is ironic when you consider that the opposite course of action would be to deny people the vote altogether.

    Would it strengthen democracy? On balance it probably would, if only by diluting the hard-core nutters and the bogus postal votes.
  7. What freedom is it when execrising your right become a compulsory act? Voting is also compulsory in North Korea and will you consider it a democracy? If we can't trust people to decide whether to vote or not, can we trust them making the right choice?
  8. In principle, I agree, but on the other hand, why force the apathetic to vote. I'd like to see a system whereby, if you want to vote, you register. There would be no question of refusing anyone the right to vote, but why bother with all the admin for the 50-60% of people who cant be bothered.
  9. You could be right but surely the fact that some 30 odd million people did not vote for His Tonyness and co due to any number of reasons mostly to do with can't be bothereditis I suspect.

    Why not use the Aussie system, voting is not compulsory but turning up at the polling station is. Add a bit of the German idea of having the election on a Sunday instead of a working day and you might get something like real democracy instead of some 15% of the voters deciding.

    Democracy is just mob rule anyway so why bother voting at all. :twisted:
  10. The difference with north korea, is that you only have one party to choose from...
  11. Surely not voting is also an exercise in democracy? Forcing people to vote seems a bit autocratic and continental to me. I will happily continue not to vote until there is someone I really do want to see in power or to stop the BNP if they stand a chance of winning. I am content for New Labour to be in power but not content enough for them to have my ballot. A good many people in this country and the US are disenchanted with politics and we would not realise how deep a malaise this is if they were forced to vote.

    Finally, democracy is not the be all and end all. I value liberty more highly. Compared to a century ago it seems that we now have more democracy than liberty. They are not the best of bedfellows. The current Members of Parliament are doing enough as it is to erode our ancient liberties without the need for them to intrude into our lives even further by forcing us to vote.
  12. The Australian model is far from perfect - when compulsory voting was introduced, the names of candidate were listed alphabetically on the ballot papers (as in the UK).

    It soon became apparent that many of the first-listed names were getting a disproportionate share of the vote. Research showed that many voters were still not interested in voting and were ticking the first name on the ballot paper as a form of protest (or possibly due to indifference).

    This was overcome by issuing ballot papers with the names jumbled so that each name appeared at the top of the paper an equal number of times! Unfortunately, this still does not alter the fact that many voters are only attending because of the legal requirements.

    I think that compulsory voting is illiberal and would (in the UK, certainly) only reinforce the comtempt that many have for politicians.

    I welcomed the introduction of postal votes as I work away from home a lot and cannot guarentee being home on a Thursday, unfortunately, this system has been discredited, not least in my part of Birmingham, by practises which would shame a third world nation.

    The first step should be to hold elections on a Sunday, as most other developed countries do.

    Secondly, we should have fixed parliamentary terms (4 or 5 years) to negate the need for hurried registration when an election is called at short notice (usually for reasons politically advantageous to the incumbent administration). The 1983 election was called at short notice when my unit was moving from BAOR to the UK. I was unable to re-register in time and was thus disenfranchised by this move.

    Rant over.
  13. How about if we get the terminology right to start with?

    In this British plutocracy, that's mysteriously called a 'democracy', we could compulsorily vote for whatever Supermarket boss, Credit Card company MD or Private 'Care' company founder is listed as a candidate on the ballot slip.

    The voting system could be arranged along the lines of a financial transaction. Say £1 to vote for each candidate with an option to vote for more than one. To deter non-participation, it could cost £10 to spoil the paper or to tick a 'no choice of candidate' box.

    The whole counting process could be determined along the lines of a 'buy one get one free' or '3 for the price of 2' basis - and the winning fat cat could fill their coffers to bursting point, or build bigger coffers in the case of TESCO, and instruct their political underlings to form a Government.
  14. Turnout in General Elections has not been THAT bad. I think something like 61% of registered voters cast their votes in the May 2005 election, slightly up on 2001 although the trend has been generally downwards since 1945.
  15. No need, you can spoil your ballot paper and those have to be counted too.