Democracy & compulsory voting

I’ve just stumbled across a brilliant article that details how and why Australia became one of the few democracies in the world to practise compulsory voting:

To be honest, I had absolutely no idea why we embraced compulsory voting, but I’ve long seen the value of it. Compulsory voting makes representational democracy more democratic. Why? Because the silent majority is forced to make a decision, and that decision dilutes the power of both extremes.

As a member of the silent ‘middle’, I think that’s a Very. Good. Thing. The whole point of democracies is that the majority decide important issues. But if only the far right and the far left care enough to get out there and vote, the winner is always going to be from one of the extremes. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means that ordinary people who just want to survive and get along don’t have a say.

Another thing, which is specifically referred to in that article, is that compulsory voting makes greater choice possible. Instead of only being able to vote for the two or possibly three major parties, compulsory voting gives independents and smaller parties a chance as well. If they get in, their votes have to be won…via compromise, and compromise dilutes the extremes again.

I hope the IPA never get their way and scrap compulsory voting. We do not need extremes. We do not need people to be so polarised that they hate each other. We need compromise and balance and more choices, not less.

Australia’s democracy may be young, but it works. No offence to either the US or the UK, but I wouldn’t want to live in either country at the moment.



About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

20 responses to “Democracy & compulsory voting

  • DawnGillDesigns

    I didn’t realise you were silent Andrea šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚
    (sorry, cheeky I know. x)


  • Widdershins

    One of the biggest shocks I received when I moved her from OZ was that voting wasn’t compulsory … and that something ridiculous like 39% of the population on average, could be bothered. That ain’t democracy in my book.


  • marianallen

    I never heard of compulsory voting, but I’m not sure it would be a good idea in America. Americans are so contrary, there would probably be people writing in their dog’s name of George Washington of Mount Vernon, just for spite because they were forced to do something they didn’t choose to do. They’d be protesting that their civil rights were being violated by being made to participate in their own governance. It’s a weird country.


    • acflory

      lol – we call that ‘casting a donkey vote’ because it can’t be counted, and honestly, it /is/ a legitimate option in a democracy.

      I understand what you’re saying about the perception of freedom, and yes, going to hell and taking the country with you is also a legitimate choice, I just can’t understand the mindset that makes it.

      I think we have very different definitions of the word ‘freedom’. In the US, it seems to revolve around the idea of ‘freedom /from/’. Here, it’s more about ‘freedom /to/’, but being free to do something always goes hand in hand with responsibility because your actions will always impinge upon someone else. Thus the idea of everyone having a ‘fair go’ is enshrined in the way we perceive ourselves.
      Then again, perception rarely equates with reality. :/

      Liked by 2 people

  • Mick Canning

    I like the idea of it. If we’d had it in the UK, I doubt we’d be going through the Brexit mess now.


  • Elizabeth Drake

    I live in the land of gerrymandering and voter suppression. I wish we had compulsory voting!


    • acflory

      I know that Americans believe in democracy. Maybe the one good thing to come out of the current turmoil is that your electoral system may be reinvented to ensure that it never happens again. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  • davidprosser

    Who’d blame you for that.Policies that are letting so many people down might be stopped with a compulsory vote.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx


  • cagedunn

    I like the idea of non-compulsory voting, however with a proviso, if the turn-out isn’t GT 76%, they have to do it again. Costly, I know, but how much harder would they work to get actual work done to demonstrate their value?
    Just my opinion – make ’em work harder, I say. Oh, and make the ‘zones’ more equitable (whatever that means, but to me it says: you get the most votes, you get to be top dog for a minute – oh, sorry, four years? How long since we’ve seen that happen?).
    Maybe I should ignore politics altogether –


    • acflory

      -grin- you radical, you!
      Seriously, you know what I’d do if I had my druthers? I’d choose political candidates the way we choose jurors – by picking names out of a hat [or the modern equivalent].
      These would be people who do NOT want to be politicians, who would kick and scream and try to get out of it. But then, being stuck with the job for FOUR WHOLE YEARS, would have to roll up their sleeves and try to learn how to do it…the job that is, not how to spin lies for public consumption.
      Some would be terrible at the job. Some few would be really good. Either way, they would bring an element of integrity to politics because they would not automatically be affiliated to, or beholden to, either a political philosophy or powerful interest groups.
      It would be like having a whole parliament full of independents….
      MWAHAHAHAHA! herding cats. šŸ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

  • Candy Korman

    In the U.S. and amazing number of people don’t vote. They complain about laws, legislators, presidents, etc. but they don’t vote. I’ve often wondered about compulsory voting.


    • acflory

      I know. I think the election of the current occupant of the White House was when I first realised that compulsory voting does not happen in the US. Suddenly there were zillions of people protesting, and I wondered why they hadn’t voted when that personal protest might have made a difference. I still don’t understand. šŸ˜¦


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