Having a constitutional right to vote, like other rights, carries with it the concomitant right not to excerise that right. I have a right to join a trade union, therefore I also have a right to refuse to join one. To make voting compulsory, would deprive citizens of the right to vote, and replace that right with an obligation.
I believe voting should be compulsory. Those who wish not to register a preference can
A) Opt for a 're-open nominations' option if one is provided
B) Spoil their ballot if it is not.
Citizens have rights, but they also have duties, and participation in the decision making process of the body politic is one of them. The option of spoiling one's ballot allows a perfectly acceptable means of expressing a protest against the candidates on offer, the system as a whole, or even a simple absence of opinion and unwillingness to affect the decision.
Absention is still possible with a compulsory vote. It however must be an active expression of abstention, and not simply an abrogation of one's civic duties out of laziness.
Of course this carries with it the caveat that the state must make every effort to assist its citizens in being able to cast their ballot, by promptly and efficiently providing all necessary documentation, holding votes on weekends or making ballot days official holidays, organising voter transportation for those who need it etc and so on.
The Aussies have exactly this sort of system, and I think they're better for it.
Absolutely no! It is always the left-wing partieswhich propose these things that voting should be compulsory because it is an undeniable fact that left-wing supporters are more apathetic voters than those of the right. The lower the turn-out the better the right succeeds.
There are varoius reasons for not voting. Some people refuse to support any political party, others are simply just not interested enough in politics in order to be able to form a sophisticated opinion on issues.
Some people who vote actually vote completely against their own interests by supporting a party which has nothing to do with things that voter holds dear but that is democracy.
If there was a compulsory voting, the amount of blank and spoiled ballots would increase very much.
Politics.ie is one of Ireland's leading politics and current affairs discussion websites with more than 600,000 visitors a month. Founded in 2003, Politics.ie has one of the most engaged, respected and influential politics and current affairs communities.