Thursday, February 11, 2010

Compulsory voting?

Following on from the debate about voting reform perhaps now is also the time to begin a wider consultation with the country regarding compulsory voting. In fairness the term 'compulsory voting' is a bit of a misnomer, what we are really talking about is the compulsory casting of ballots - pedantic I know but it is important nonetheless.

Personally I am quite attracted by the idea, mainly because:

1. It can help improve turnout

2. It leaves parties free to campaign on policies, rather than focusing huge efforts on 'getting out the vote'. It can also reduce the impact of better finance campaigns and reduce the incidents of negative campaigning.

3. It can help create/enhance a sense of community, as everyone is in it together. It is also a means of reducing social exclusion where those that don't vote end up without any policies geared towards them.

I know that there are many reasons why we shouldn't make voting compulsory but I do think we need to have the debate nationally, indeed can we afford not to?


What do you think?

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