Friday, May 06, 2011

Mandatory Voting in Canada is Needed

Seniors vote in much greater numbers than young people and so politicians pay them more attention. The lack of attention paid to younger voters leads the youth to pay even less attention to politics and on it goes in a vicious circle. The only way out of this vicious circle is mandatory voting.

Getting young people to the polls is vital for the future health of Canadian democracy. Many Canadians in their 20s will move into their 30s never having voted and it remains to be seen just how many will start voting.

Of course, what can be said about young and old voting patterns can also be said about other groups as well. Politicians pander to groups who show up to the vote in disproportionately large numbers to the detriment of everyone else.

Mandatory voting will also make elections more about issues. Indeed, anyone who has ever worked on a campaign knows that most of the focus is not spent convincing people to vote this way or that, but rather identifying party supporters and then to pestering them to show up on voting day. Make voting and mandatory and parties would spend more time focusing in on the issues and lot less time and expense tracking down supporters.


Dean said...

Absolutely terrible idea, freedom in this country gives you the choice to not exercise your rights.

Anonymous said...

The freedom I have is a freedom to drink too much, smoke too much, eat too much, watch tv too much, and, to not vote if I decide to.
This is the kind of stuff that blurrs the Liberals from the NDP and takes your party away from the middle ground. Your either free to walk past a polling station or your not...its a simple as that.

Anonymous said...

You make the most entertaining typos. It's "vicious," not "viscous" which means to have a thick, sticky consistency.

Mandatory voting now? Seriously?

I've never understood not voting, and I don't know if I care to. The franchise, the vote in a democracy IS POWER. There is little more important in our system than the raw and undeniable expression of the direction you want the government to take.

The Prime Minister can rule almost without limitation, but only for four years. At the end of that time, he or she must once again seek the consent and approval of the people.

If a person cannot understand just how important that obligation is, then perhaps they're doing doing us a favor by not voting. But even so, voting should under no circumstances become mandatory. Liberty also includes the right to not participate if one so chooses. If a person cannot understand why they really ought to participate that it is their choice, freely made, and I will agree to disagree. I'll be marking an X on my ballot.

I'm not yet thirty, and I've voted in every federal election, every provincial election, and every municipal election save one.

"To vote is to wield authority; it is the supreme authority from which all other authority derives... ...the franchise is force, naked and raw, the Power of
the Rods and the Ax. Whether it is exerted by ten men or by ten billion political authority is force." - Robert A. Heinlein - Starship Troopers

Koby said...

"You make the most entertaining typos. It's "vicious," not "viscous" which means to have a thick, sticky consistency."

Yes, I need to pay more attention to what my spell check suggests and not be in such a hurry.

That said, my vocabulary is not lacking. I know what "viscous" means and obviously know what "vicious" means.

Now as for the matter at hand, are you really suggesting Australians are not truly free because Australia has mandatory voting? Mandatory voting ranks right up there with seat belt laws and laws demanding that motorcyclists wear helmets. They are limited and justifiable infringement on one's liberty and I do not have the time of day for libertarian clap trap.

"Liberty also includes the right to not participate if one so chooses."