Should voting be required?


“Paul Revere” at Effects Measure muses on the effect of one vote in the grand scheme of things, and comes up wondering whether it wouldn’t be a good idea to require voters to vote — as indeed is done in Australia (voters pay a fine for failing to vote).

It’s a good discussion of the impact one citizen’s vote really makes, a discussion leavened by the science background of Revere.  The article would make a wonderful warm-up exercise for classes in civics, government, economics and U.S. history.

Voting is a privilege, but it’s also a duty of good citizenship. Should we require people to vote, by law, with criminal penalties for those who fail to make a choice at the polls?

What do you think?

3 Responses to Should voting be required?

  1. benny says:

    Voting is a sham. It is nothing more than a trick to make the indoctrinated think that they actually have some say in their political system. It would be better if people simply refrained from voting altogether and applied non-government solutions to the challenges faced by individuals living in our society.

    Democracy = 3 wolves and a sheep deciding what is for dinner. Governments killed 200 MILLION men, women and children during the 20th century.

    The biggest lie that Americans believe is that we can’t have an orderly and peaceful society without government. We can.

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  2. flatlander100 says:

    You wrote: whether it wouldn’t be a good idea to require voters to vote — as indeed is done in Australia (voters pay a fine for failing to vote).

    Well, not quite…. You are fined in Australia for not going to the polls, but I don’t think you actually have to cast a ballot once you get there. The law requires you to show up, I think, and fines you for not doing so. But it does not absolutely require you, on pain of a fine, to cast a ballot. Or so I think.

    As for the larger issue… is it simply a vote we want citizens to cast? Or is it an informed vote by an informed voter? If someone has put zero effort into become informed on the issues or candidates in any particular election, and/or is so lacking in public spirit and interest that he — or she — cannot flog himself to the polls without coercion, we have, I think, to at least consider the proposition that the greatest service such persons can do for the public on election day is… stay home.

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  3. Mike O'Risal says:

    I think that compelling people to vote is teetering on the brink of Fascism, particularly in a country with one more viable political party than in a nation with only one.

    It isn’t necessarily voting that’s a civic duty but careful consideration of how to vote. There must always be left open the possibility that someone may choose not to vote not out of desertion of their civic responsibilities but because the candidates made available are repugnant to them. There are people who, in certain circumstances, decide not to vote as a personal statement of protest. Whether or not this an effective protest is moot; if we consider ourselves a democracy, such an allowance has to be made.

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