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Voting in a general election should be compulsory
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Suedehead2
post Apr 29 2015, 12:19 PM
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With the General Election just over a week away, the turnout is expected to be around 60%. Even with the election being the most uncertain for many years, approximately 40% of eligible voters are expected to stay away.

In some countries, e.g. Australia, voting is compulsory. Anyone who does not vote may be fined. Should we do the same in the UK? Or does the right to vote include the right not to vote?

Discuss.



While you are here, take a look at previous debates and if you haven't already, have your say in those too!

'The voting age should be lowered to 16'
'Abortion should be made illegal in the UK'
'Animal testing should be outright banned'
'Vaccines should be a legal requirement'
'Religion does more harm than good'
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Joe ho ho!
post Apr 29 2015, 12:40 PM
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I have thought about this a lot and my opinion often changes. I'm leaning more towards 'for' at the moment though.
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Cameron
post Apr 29 2015, 12:44 PM
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I am a bit half and half, but I voted for. When thinking about how hard the Suffragists and Suffragettes campaigned to get woman and working class men the vote, I feel that we should remember what society was like before the campaigns started and use our vote.
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AdamAloud
post Apr 29 2015, 12:44 PM
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I don't think it should be compulsory. I think more should be done to encourage people to vote, especially young people. But to force people who really don't care or understand politics (which is very likely to be the case for the majority of the population I'd say) would really skew the results. Plus forcing people to do something isn't very democratic in itself.
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Soy Adrián
post Apr 29 2015, 01:02 PM
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I've always been unsure of this. The possibility of ballot spoiling makes me think it wouldn't such an affront to liberty.
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t=SpunderfulXmas
post Apr 29 2015, 02:14 PM
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Why should it? huh.gif
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liamk97
post Apr 29 2015, 02:33 PM
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I think you should vote but I wouldn't make it compulsory. If someone decides not to vote because they think that all the parties are just liars or can't work out who would be best for the country or whatever reason, then fine. Just because you have the right to do something, it doesn't mean you should have to do it. That's the argument I'd usually use if someone says to think about the people who fought for our right to vote. Plus, a lot of people work hard to get something done, that doesn't mean we have to support everything.
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ʟɪɴᴅs.
post Apr 29 2015, 06:49 PM
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hmmmm this is actually kinda difficult to answer, I said I agree that voting should be compulsory as I think everyone should take an interest in our country and use their vote to voice their opinions on what this country needs etc. but then again, having choice over something is always good and if it was compulsory I'd imagine there would be a lot of people protesting to make it optional again because lets face it, nobody likes feeling like they've been forced into doing something.

Maybe a happy medium would be more political awareness, especially with high school students, I always wonder why Politics isn't a core subject in high school, at least for a couple of years, as someone who is voting in their first GE next week, I had to do a bit of research into each party before deciding on who I'm voting for as I barely knew anything bar the party names and their leaders, so I definitely think more could be done to get more people interested in politics, and rather than forcing people to vote, maybe just do more to make them want to vote.


This post has been edited by Lindsey ♌: Apr 29 2015, 06:50 PM
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Nadolig Llawen!
post Apr 29 2015, 07:09 PM
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Everyone should vote but it shouldn't be compulsory. If some people have no interest then it's probably better in the long run.
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LexC
post Apr 29 2015, 07:48 PM
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I feel like I'm just repeating myself from last week but basically, there's no point having an electorate who have to vote but haven't been educated/informed enough to make a balanced decision. To me, compulsory voting, if it does ever get introduced would have to come in alongside a long list of other things rather than just on its own.
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Liаm
post Apr 29 2015, 07:59 PM
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People SHOULD be interested of course, but if voting was compulsory then I just feel like the worrying amount of people who don't care would tick boxes randomly, vote for stupid reasons or something like that to avoid the penalty/fine and the results would be, for want of a better word, ruined and less representative of what the country wants. I know nobody ever seems to be happy with the election results but you know what I mean tongue.gif

More people should vote, definitely, but for that to happen or for compulsory voting to work I agree we definitely need better political education. I had absolutely no idea until I watched the debate and then did my own research. Well, I did know the absolute basics from last year's sociology spec but of course only a small percentage of new voters are going to have studied sociology at A Level and covered that even, let alone know enough about all of the parties to know which of them correlates best with their beliefs.
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Yuki On Ice~
post Apr 29 2015, 08:44 PM
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QUOTE(Soy Adrián @ Apr 29 2015, 02:02 PM) *
I've always been unsure of this. The possibility of ballot spoiling makes me think it wouldn't such an affront to liberty.


I agree with this, without ballot spoiling it would be a bit authoritarian for my liking but with it it would be okay, there's always a free option to choose.

The thing is that I think if compulsory voting were to be introduced that our system would catch up pretty quick to make sure that people get educated on who each of the parties are, it would eliminate the people who say they don't think voting matters or who take the (what I think is an utterly bizarre) route of choosing not to vote and having their voice not heard because they are disillusioned. It should force politicians to connect with all levels of society as each of them would provide an equal portion of the electorate (thinking young vs old principally here) and in best case scenario, with them being held accountable to absolutely everyone, it could change the perception of politics for the country.

It may not do all those things but I think ensuring that the entire voice of the electorate is heard would largely be a good move, were it to ever happen. For similar reasons, although I didn't reply to last week's debate because I was busy, I'd also support the voting age being lowered.
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Winter Wombatlan...
post Apr 29 2015, 09:24 PM
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I feel a choice should be made for those that understandably can't bring themselves to vote for any of the awful personalities that could be our leader.

I kid, but in all srsness, I do feel people that are of legal age who aren't (this phrase sounds horrifically snobbish but you know what I mean) well informed enough should have a choice to opt out, it's a good idea in theory, like lowering the voting age, but more needs to be done to educate those around or just turning voting age that are disenchanted with politics to make them see that their vote does count and that politics affects *everyone*.

I do find the term 'I don't care about politics' quite sad really, it's so important and affects your day to day life and your long term aspirations and THE long term aspirations of the country, it shouldn't be viewed with such disenchantment amongst most young people (I'm sure most is down to the personalities, but still).


This post has been edited by Chez Wombat: Apr 29 2015, 09:29 PM
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bipolar angel
post May 1 2015, 08:52 AM
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QUOTE(AdamAloud @ Apr 29 2015, 01:44 PM) *
I don't think it should be compulsory. I think more should be done to encourage people to vote, especially young people. But to force people who really don't care or understand politics (which is very likely to be the case for the majority of the population I'd say) would really skew the results. Plus forcing people to do something isn't very democratic in itself.



i'm 1 of the ones who don't understand

so for me, it honestly means nothing

i admit that i had to vote once (forced too), but i've not had to do it since
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