Compulsory Voting Essay

Compulsory Voting Essay-41
Is a government really more legitimate if the high voter turnout is against the will of the voters?Many countries with limited financial capacity may not be able to justify the expenditures of maintaining and enforcing compulsory voting laws.Other possible reasons for not enforcing the laws could be complexity and resources required for enforcement.

They argue further that voting, voluntarily or otherwise, has an educational effect upon the citizens.

Political parties can derive financial benefits from compulsory voting, since they do not have to spend resources convincing the electorate that it should in general turn out to vote.

What if there are penalties for failing to vote but they are never or are scarcely enforced? Many countries offer loopholes, intentionally and otherwise, which allow non-voters to go unpunished.

For example, in many countries it is required to vote only if you are a registered voter, but it is not compulsory to register. In many cases, like Australia, an acceptable excuse for absence on Election Day will avoid sanctions.

What effect does this immeasurable category of random votes have on the legitimacy of the democratically elected government?

A figure depicting the exact number of countries that practice compulsory voting is quite arbitrary.The first column lists the name of the country, the second column the type of sanctions that the relevant country imposes against non-voters and the third column contains the information on to what extent the compulsory voting laws are enforced in practice.The non-voter is removed from the voter register until he/she reapplies and provides a reason. The amount varies between the countries, for example three Swiss Francs in Switzerland, between 300 and 3,000 ATS in Austria, 200 Cyprus Pounds in Cyprus, 10-20 Argentinean Pesos in Argentina, 20 Soles in Peru etc.3. The non-voter may face imprisonment as a sanction, however, we do not know of any documented cases.Most democratic governments consider participating in national elections a right of citizenship.Some consider that participation at elections is also a citizen's civic responsibility.Voters who are voting against their free will may check off a candidate at random, particularly the top candidate on the ballot.The voter does not care whom they vote for as long as the government is satisfied that they fulfilled their civic duty.Can a country be considered to practice compulsory voting if the mandatory voting laws are ignored and irrelevant to the voting habits of the electorate?Is a country practicing compulsory voting if there are no penalties for not voting?The simple presence or absence of mandatory voting laws in a constitution is far too simplistic.It is more constructive to analyse compulsory voting as a spectrum ranging from a symbolic, but basically impotent, law to a government which systematic follow-up of each non-voting citizen and implement sanctions against them. Some laws are created to merely state the government's position regarding what the citizen's responsibility should be.


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