Alexandria, La. Our View: Here’s Something Worth Voting On: Mandatory Voting. The Town Talk. 23 Mar 2012.
Alexandria’s article attempts to inform readers about the success of making voting mandatory by examining Australia as one of the 31 countries that have some form of mandatory voting. Due to the perpetual low voter turnout in Australia, the government adopted mandatory voting in 1924. The following year, the voter turnout rose to 91% from 60% of previous elections.
The law transformed the civic norms because, today, the voter turnout hover around 95%. Importantly, the author notes that Australians are more likely to perceive voting as mandatory than before. Most importantly, while the government feared negative side effects of making voting mandatory, there was no observable threat or risk. For instance, the percentage or the number of votes that are completed randomly or intentionally spoiled as acts of resistance of aptly remained on the level of 3%. As a proponent of mandatory voting, this article justifies the argument because it demonstrates the success of adapting the mandatory voting in Australia.
Galston, William. Telling Americans to Vote, or Else: [Op-Ed]. A New York Times; Nov 6, 2011; Global Newsstream pg. SR.9.
According to Galston, the service of the jury is mandatory; therefore, voting should also be mandatory. Galston argues that while the idea of mandatory voting seems un-American, it can help in ease the intense political polarization that has been witnessed in the recent presidential elections as well as ensure the public trusts government institutions. The author also refers to the 31 countries who have made voting mandatory. While some of these countries rely on the moral force of the law, others back up mandatory voting using legal requirements with mechanism for enforcement. In his article, Galston argues that it is easy to dismiss mandatory voting laws as a form of statitism that would not work in the United States despite many countries implementing the idea. The author refers to Australia, which has a similar political culture to that of America and has successfully implemented the mandatory voting law. The author states that proponents of mandatory voting argue that democracy cannot be strong of its citizens do not participate in elections through voting. Also, for a democracy to work, the electorate must present their views and interests by voting. Finally, Galston argues that mandatory will attempt to even out disparities arising from education, income, and age. As an advocate of mandatory voting, this article justifies my stand.
Harb, Mac. “The Case for Mandatory Voting in Canada,” Speech to the Senate on February 9, 200.
According to Harb, a Canadian Senator, it is time to initiate mandatory voting due to the decline of voter participation in Canada. In his argument, the author mandatory voting should be initiated as one of the civic duties of Canadians. He also equates mandatory voting to other civic duties such as serving in the jury and paying taxes. Since Canadian democracy depends on the participation of its citizens, it is only prudent to initiate mandatory voting to ensure wholesome electorate involvement in political activities. According to the article, a political system that allows people to vote but only a small fraction of the electorate exercise this right can just be referred to as a hollow democracy. Therefore, voting should be a civic duty owned by every citizen to the rest of the population that is not eligible to vote. The author also refers to Australia as a successful example in implementing mandatory voting. In fact, Harb states that the proposed law is designed to encourage Canadians to participate in electoral processes as a civic duty the same way the law mandates jury service. However, he also highlights that citizens will still have the right to abstain by either dropping a blank ballot or selecting “none of the above” when choosing a candidate once they are at the polling stations.
Horner, Rachel. “Making a Voting Right a Voting Reality,” IPS, August 6, 2007
The author analyzes and offers her perspective on women’s voting rights in Sierra Leone. Horner argues that while women have all the rights to vote it the country, there are a number of challenges and barriers, including prejudice and illiteracy, that prevent women’s political equity, leading to many of them abstaining from voting. The author states that many groups are currently striving to improve voter literacy and participation. According to Horner, although the women in Sierra Leonne have the right to vote, they do not know how to use it as revealed in the 2007 election. The participation women in elections is also minimal since they are politically ignorant. Most of the women cannot even name a major political party. Horner further uses statistics from a study conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation in her argument. The study revealed that 80% of male participants stated that they were aware of the election date, while only 65% knew the date of the upcoming election. Numerous initiatives and groups have come up to change the situation to ensure greater participation of women in future parliamentary and presidential elections. This article is important as it demonstrates that voluntary voting leads to political illiteracy, which is detrimental to voting rights of women in Sierra Leonne.
Solari, Bryan. “Forcing the Issue: The Potential Consequences of Compulsory Voting on American Democracy,” www.Helium.com, August 8, 2007.
In the article, Solar offers his perspective on mandatory voting by investigating the problems associated with the idea, particularly how mandatory voting can undermine the rights of Americans and damage the structures of democracy. According to Solari, proponents of compulsory voting do not take into consideration the unique qualities of the U.S political system and the size of the country. Solari thus argues against mandatory voting in his article by highlighting the negative aspects of the practice in other countries. Solari notes that the reasons voter turnout in America has been lowest compared to modern democracies can be analyzed along economic and educational lines.
Solari refers to a study by Lijphart that found out that the disparity of influence and representation are not randomly distributed but methodically unfair in favor of privileged Americans. Particularly, those with better education, greater wealth and high incomes have higher influence in political matters that the less disadvantaged individuals. As such, mandatory voting would help in eliminating the traditional inequality. On the contrary, Solari states that one common problem with mandatory voting because it will create roadblocks to democratic success. Many people will rush to the polls on Election Day leading to long queues no matter the design of electoral structure. The author also states that forcing Americans to vote is a violation of the constitution. This article is important as it gives the views of both advocates and opponents of mandatory voting.
Somin, Ilya. Why mandatory jury service is a poor justification for mandatory voting. Weblog post. Washington Post – Blogs, Washington: WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post. Mar 25, 2015.
In his blog post, Somin states since jury service is mandatory, proponents of mandatory voting justify their argument of making voting obligatory. The article offers to angles of argument that advocate for and oppose the mandatory voting concept. In particular, if voting forces individuals to serve on juries, it is also possible to force them to vote. According to Somin, knowing the difference between voting and jury service is important in whether to impose mandates for obligatory voting or making the jury service voluntary. Somin states that political ignorance does not pose a serious problem for jurors than it is for voters. The opponents of mandatory voting argue that since voters are more politically ignorant than the jury, forcing mandatory voting will augment the already existing serious problem of political ignorance.
However, Somin states that there is no need to worry about the risks that may rise from forcing people who have no or average political knowledge to vote. On the other hand, Somin argues that voting should be voluntary since it is a form of state-imposed forced labor. Further, Somin argues that randomized lottery can be used as a process of choosing people to serve as jurors if the aim is to ensure that the jurors represent the demography of a particular population. The article is important as it presents both advocates and opponents’ views on mandatory voting.