Filed under: Get Activist
In Australia, compulsory voting means that every Australian citizen (18 years or older) is required by law to enrol and vote.
Proponents of compulsory voting argue that voting is a civic duty comparable to other duties citizens perform, such as taxation, compulsory education and jury duty.
Our Electoral Commission puts the case like this:
• Opponents argue that it is an infringement of liberty to force people to vote, and that the ill informed and those with little interest in politics are forced to the polls.
• One argument against compulsory voting is that voting can be an onerous imposition on some citizens. Against this it has been stated that: ”All our voting system requires is for a voter to attend a polling booth and mark some papers as they wish, approximately once every three years. This does not seem to be an insurmountable burden to be part of a democracy”.
• Another argument is that both the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights refer to people’s rights to “freely chosen representatives”. It is then claimed that a “right” is something that a person posses and chooses to use, not something produced on demand.
• Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, however, states that “rights and freedoms” are subject to “duties to the community”, including the “just requirements of of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society”.
So my friends in the States, I may be preaching to the converted but: Please vote. maps.google.com/vote
UPDATE: I’m being interviewed on ABC radio tomorrow (6/11) about compulsory voting. What do you think about it? A good thing? A bad thing? What do you think Australia would be like without it?
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