Compulsory Voting Essay

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Lastly, if democracy is government by the people, presumably this includes all people, then it is every citizen's responsibility to elect their representatives.

The leading argument against compulsory voting is that it is not consistent with the freedom associated with democracy.

The diverse forms compulsory voting has taken in different countries refocuses the perception of it away from an either present or absent practice of countries to a study of the degree and manner in which the government forces its citizens to participate.

Laws, Sanctions & Enforcement Below is a table containing all the countries that have a law that provides for compulsory voting.

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.Voting is not an intrinsic obligation and the enforcement of the law would be an infringement of the citizens' freedom associated with democratic elections.It may discourage the political education of the electorate because people forced to participate will react against the perceived source of oppression.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.In some countries, where voting is considered a duty, voting at elections has been made compulsory and has been regulated in the national constitutions and electoral laws.Some countries go as far as to impose sanctions on non-voters. Some of the first countries that introduced mandatory voting laws were Belgium in 1892, Argentina in 1914 and Australia in 1924.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.This spectrum implies that some countries formally have compulsory voting laws but do not, and have no intention to, enforce them. Mandatory voting laws that do not include sanctions may fall into this category.Although a government may not enforce mandatory voting laws or even have formal sanctions in law for failing to vote, the law may have some effect upon the citizens.


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