Compulsory Voting

Compulsory Voting - to more accurately reflect the will of...

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Voter apathy was rife at the 2001 election; turnout was just 59.4% and was the lowest recorded since 1918. In 2005, turnout rose slightly to 61.3%, meaning that the Labour Party was historically elected to a third successive government term with just 21.6% of the popular vote. This, many would argue, is not a sufficient mandate with which to govern. Over 20 countries worldwide have some sort of compulsory voting, of which the most notable is Australia, which introduced the law in 1924. All citizens over the age of 18 must be vote on election day. Fines are issued to “absentees”. Since 1924, Australian general election turnout has been between 94-96%. These countries have adopted the system because they believe that voting is a civic duty as well as a right. Advocates propose that forcing people to vote will also increase their political awareness. With compulsory voting, the legislative body is able
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Unformatted text preview: to more accurately reflect the will of the electorate. Governments are also more inclined to operate on behalf of the whole nation, rather than just their core voters. However, many have argued against the proposal stating that it is undemocratic and an infringement of liberty to force people to vote. Should it be adopted in the UK, it could also increase the number of safe seat constituencies, a number which already causes concern. Lastly, critics also state that the process would be expensive since resources would have to be allocated to ensure that the law was being obeyed. The idea has a growing number of supporters in the UK, among them Geoff Hoon MP, Leader of the House of Commons and the Fabian Society, and could one day become a political reality if low turnouts persist in general elections. Compulsory Voting...
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course PPE PPE taught by Professor None during the Summer '08 term at Oxford University.

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