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Should voting in elections be mandatory? Show more Show less
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Countries like Australia have mandatory voting to increase political participation. In the face of growing public disillusionment with politics and a substantial amount of the adult populace who refuse to vote in elections, should voting be mandatory?

Voting should not be mandatory Show more Show less

The state should not be able to force people to participate politically if they do not want to.
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People should actively want to vote

People should want to vote, rather than being forced to do so.
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The Argument

Forcing people who are apathetic, uninformed, or disillusioned with politics to vote would not bring the positive gains the proponents of mandatory voting expect. In many cases, this sizeable group have elected not to participate in elections for good reasons. Forcing them to vote could lead to more votes and electoral gains for protest and populist parties. The country is better off if those who are disinclined to vote are not forced to participate in public affairs.

Counter arguments

Citizens of democracies are already forced to do things that they may not want to do but are in the public good. This includes allowing their children to be educated, paying tax, and serving on juries. All of these serve a greater societal good and reflect a broader social contract between the governors of society and the governed, which is a careful balance between a citizen’s rights and responsibilities. Voting is the responsibility of each citizen and making it compulsory would ensure that people see it as part of a broader social contract where full participation benefits society as a whole.

Premises

[P1] A politically engaged, informed citizen should want to vote. [P2] People who don't vote are not the sort of people we should want to participate in our political system.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Just as the state makes people who may not want to serve on juries, they should be made to vote for the greater public good.

References

This page was last edited on Monday, 9 Mar 2020 at 10:02 UTC

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