Author Topic: Compulsory Voting - the Australian model  (Read 1194 times)

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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Compulsory Voting - the Australian model
« Reply #75 on: October 04, 2019, 06:33:17 PM »
As for voter suppression in American elections. During my life I have met a few persons living in Sweden who were both Swedish and American citizens (typically due to one parent being Swedish, the other American), thus eligible to vote in American elections. They never seemed o have any problems in voting in American elections. If it is possible to arrange that for American citizens living abroad, it should certainly be possible to arrange it for those living in the US.

The issue is not one of its being "possible" to make it easy to vote. The issue is that the party that controls most state legislatures has been for many years waging a war against black voters. This is part of a very long-term plan by the Republican Party to gain control of state legislatures for the purpose of gerrymandering the districts at both the state and federal level, and passing laws that obstruct the ability of black people to vote. They have been very successful, as shown by the election (by the electoral college against the wishes of the majority of voters) of the Shrub and the Pustule.)
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Compulsory Voting - the Australian model
« Reply #76 on: October 04, 2019, 06:34:25 PM »
The infrastructure of the country in question (except if we are talking about a war zone) would be irrelevant if it is up to the American embassy to arrange it. And if it is possible to arrange it abroad, it should certain be possible to arrange it at home.
You are asserting that all embassies are funded to the same degree, have the same seniority/quality of people, equivalent equipment, etc..
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 06:44:24 PM by brilligtove »
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Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: Compulsory Voting - the Australian model
« Reply #77 on: October 04, 2019, 07:36:50 PM »
But I think large voter participation can be achieved without it, and I think large voter participation is desirable for a democracy. Compulsory voting is one way, but not the only way, and IMO not the most preferable way.

I, unfortunately, think our voter turnouts would drop significantly if voting wasn't compulsory. Especially among young voters.

Only 60% of eligible people voted in Tasmania's last local elections (non-compulsory postal voting)

Agreed. If it were removed our system would become far more polarised, partisan and worsen our society more quickly than such forces do at present. The far right would definitely love it and voter suppression tactics and strategies would become mainstream.

I think it acts as a shock absorber for coping with the more extreme elements.

Could the same be achieved in other ways without the compulsive element? Yes and in Australia the compulsion to vote is but one of a multitude of means to ensure free and fair elections that are sufficiently representative. I do however think that in our context as still a relatively new nation it's an important component of achieving that overall objective.

Is it suitable for all other systems and societies? No.

Is it always needed elsewhere? No.

Would it be a good thing to adopt in some places? I think so. In as much as it become a driver for governments to ensure the systems and processes are in place to ensure everyone can vote, more than it means they will vote.

Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: Compulsory Voting - the Australian model
« Reply #78 on: October 04, 2019, 07:39:39 PM »
Looking at our three most recent elections in 2018, 2014, and 2010, they had a voter turnout at 87.1%, 85.8%, and 84.63%, respectively. To me it shows that it is possible to engage an overwhelming majority of the eligible voters to vote without threatening to penalize you if you don't.

The issue of compulsory voting aside, it does surprise me that the very low voter turnout in American elections (like 55% or so if I am not mistaken) is not viewed with greater concern there. It barely seems to scratch the surface.
Low voter turn out in the USA is even worse when you consider that's a proportion of those permitted to vote. Add in those large swathes of people who really should be permitted to vote but are not, and it's an even worse level of representation.

Offline Captain Video

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Re: Compulsory Voting - the Australian model
« Reply #79 on: October 04, 2019, 09:44:22 PM »
But I think large voter participation can be achieved without it, and I think large voter participation is desirable for a democracy. Compulsory voting is one way, but not the only way, and IMO not the most preferable way.

I, unfortunately, think our voter turnouts would drop significantly if voting wasn't compulsory. Especially among young voters.

Only 60% of eligible people voted in Tasmania's last local elections (non-compulsory postal voting)

Agreed. If it were removed our system would become far more polarised, partisan and worsen our society more quickly than such forces do at present. The far right would definitely love it and voter suppression tactics and strategies would become mainstream.

I think it acts as a shock absorber for coping with the more extreme elements.

Could the same be achieved in other ways without the compulsive element? Yes and in Australia the compulsion to vote is but one of a multitude of means to ensure free and fair elections that are sufficiently representative. I do however think that in our context as still a relatively new nation it's an important component of achieving that overall objective.

Is it suitable for all other systems and societies? No.

Is it always needed elsewhere? No.

Would it be a good thing to adopt in some places? I think so. In as much as it become a driver for governments to ensure the systems and processes are in place to ensure everyone can vote, more than it means they will vote.

Im not criticizing but what I read from this is that Australians need to be told what to do if they want to accomplish something.

I don't understand why you would want to force anyone to vote who is not interested. I would much rather be in a system where the people voting are interested in what or who they are voting for.  How many people just send in a ballot without even knowing what or who they are voting for? Especially youth who tend to vote far left without having a clue what the policies actually are (at least its that way here) I can understand  how you would like this system if you are on the left.  Perhaps it does not break down that way over there.


Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Compulsory Voting - the Australian model
« Reply #80 on: October 04, 2019, 10:15:14 PM »
But I think large voter participation can be achieved without it, and I think large voter participation is desirable for a democracy. Compulsory voting is one way, but not the only way, and IMO not the most preferable way.

I, unfortunately, think our voter turnouts would drop significantly if voting wasn't compulsory. Especially among young voters.

Only 60% of eligible people voted in Tasmania's last local elections (non-compulsory postal voting)

Agreed. If it were removed our system would become far more polarised, partisan and worsen our society more quickly than such forces do at present. The far right would definitely love it and voter suppression tactics and strategies would become mainstream.

I think it acts as a shock absorber for coping with the more extreme elements.

Could the same be achieved in other ways without the compulsive element? Yes and in Australia the compulsion to vote is but one of a multitude of means to ensure free and fair elections that are sufficiently representative. I do however think that in our context as still a relatively new nation it's an important component of achieving that overall objective.

Is it suitable for all other systems and societies? No.

Is it always needed elsewhere? No.

Would it be a good thing to adopt in some places? I think so. In as much as it become a driver for governments to ensure the systems and processes are in place to ensure everyone can vote, more than it means they will vote.

Im not criticizing but what I read from this is that Australians need to be told what to do if they want to accomplish something.

I don't understand why you would want to force anyone to vote who is not interested. I would much rather be in a system where the people voting are interested in what or who they are voting for.  How many people just send in a ballot without even knowing what or who they are voting for? Especially youth who tend to vote far left without having a clue what the policies actually are (at least its that way here) I can understand  how you would like this system if you are on the left.  Perhaps it does not break down that way over there.

No-one is forced to do anything. 5 to 8% choose not to turn up and vote and cop the fine or take an exemption. Another 2 to 3% choose to purposely not vote for anyone when they do turn up.
I'd guess 10 to 20% who turn up wouldn't if they didn't have to, but don't feel especially hard done by.

Most who turn up (even those who would rather not) actually vote for the party they feel best represents their political view.

I think it is fair to say that the Aussies on this forum are mostly left-wing voters. Of the 4 who have commented on this thread, at least 3 are, 2 Labor voters and 1 Greens voter.
I have never heard of a Conservative push to remove compulsory voting. The Right benefits as much as the Left from disillusioned swing voters.

Australia is further to the left, in general, than the US.

The US Democrat party would be a centrist part here and the Republican party would be considered Far-Right

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Compulsory Voting - the Australian model
« Reply #81 on: October 04, 2019, 10:33:40 PM »
I don't understand why you would want to force anyone to vote who is not interested. I would much rather be in a system where the people voting are interested in what or who they are voting for.  How many people just send in a ballot without even knowing what or who they are voting for? Especially youth who tend to vote far left without having a clue what the policies actually are (at least its that way here) I can understand  how you would like this system if you are on the left.  Perhaps it does not break down that way over there.

I used to feel this way. Where this conversation has changed my mind is that now I don't see the purpose of "compulsory" voting as forcing people to vote; rather I see it as a way of preventing states from blocking people from voting. Low voter turnout (i.e. apathy) is a problem in the U.S., but a bigger problem is the organized, concerted effort by states to stop people from voting.
Daniel
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Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: Compulsory Voting - the Australian model
« Reply #82 on: October 05, 2019, 03:01:56 AM »
I don't understand why you would want to force anyone to vote who is not interested. I would much rather be in a system where the people voting are interested in what or who they are voting for.  How many people just send in a ballot without even knowing what or who they are voting for? Especially youth who tend to vote far left without having a clue what the policies actually are (at least its that way here) I can understand  how you would like this system if you are on the left.  Perhaps it does not break down that way over there.

I used to feel this way. Where this conversation has changed my mind is that now I don't see the purpose of "compulsory" voting as forcing people to vote; rather I see it as a way of preventing states from blocking people from voting. Low voter turnout (i.e. apathy) is a problem in the U.S., but a bigger problem is the organized, concerted effort by states to stop people from voting.

This x 10

If people want to vote for no one and/or not turn up on election day either, they can pre-poll a postal vote and submit a blank form. Name crossed off as complying, it's barely an inconvenience and they have at least made the effort to think about why they don't want to vote or not vote for anyone. Funny thing is, many do end up casting a legitimate ballot, and that's a good thing.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Compulsory Voting - the Australian model
« Reply #83 on: October 05, 2019, 09:20:30 AM »
The infrastructure of the country in question (except if we are talking about a war zone) would be irrelevant if it is up to the American embassy to arrange it. And if it is possible to arrange it abroad, it should certain be possible to arrange it at home.
You are asserting that all embassies are funded to the same degree, have the same seniority/quality of people, equivalent equipment, etc..

I have not asserted what you claim, stop putting words on my mouth. I simply pointed out that it is clearly possible for American authorities to make it easy to vote, as shown in the case of expats. It should be possible within the US as well.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Compulsory Voting - the Australian model
« Reply #84 on: October 05, 2019, 11:44:45 AM »
The infrastructure of the country in question (except if we are talking about a war zone) would be irrelevant if it is up to the American embassy to arrange it. And if it is possible to arrange it abroad, it should certain be possible to arrange it at home.
You are asserting that all embassies are funded to the same degree, have the same seniority/quality of people, equivalent equipment, etc..

I have not asserted what you claim, stop putting words on my mouth. I simply pointed out that it is clearly possible for American authorities to make it easy to vote, as shown in the case of expats. It should be possible within the US as well.

Perhaps I misread your post. You said that the "infrastructure of the country in question ... would be irrelevant if it is up to the American embassy to arrange it." Since it appears that it is the US embassy's responsibility to make expat voting arrangements, and those arrangements are not equally easy in all countries with expats, there is a disconnect. That is what I pointed out.

In your original statement you appeared to be staying that they *are* equally easy. Now you have shifted the goalposts to "but they could be easy if the US wanted." Sure, but systemically, they don't want to.
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