Australia mandating vote


16-Nov-2016 00:21

Several of these countries are in Latin America with a handful allowing citizens to age out of compulsory voting by as early as age 65.In Australia, failure to vote can result in a fine, The New York Times reported.In many countries across the world, voting is not only a right.It is considered a duty that governments enforce through mandatory voting.In Canada, retired politician Mac Harb is an advocate of compulsory voting. He is currently executive director of the North Shore Community Resources Society.“Why is it important to have a discussion about this? “Well, mandatory voting is really just a possible solution to the issue of voter turnout, problems with lower voter turnout, and it’s, you know, one of different options.”“And why is low voter turnout a problem? “Well I think it raises questions about political legitimacy.Writing in the Canadian Parliamentary Review, the former Liberal MP and senator recalled that mandatory voting was introduced in Australia in 1924.“Now, Australia has consistently boasted a turnout of over 90 per cent,” Harb wrote. Currently, voter turnout in Belgium is over 90 per cent.”“The most recent election in the European Union revealed the tremendous power of mandatory voting legislation and the pro-voting culture it brings along,” Harb continued. It raises questions about the problem of undue influence that particular demographics [have] with respect to voting and political representation.

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If ballot papers are not filled out correctly, they are set aside as ‘informal’.

A student signs up to vote during National Voter Registration day at a high school in Escondido, California September 22. Should we treat showing up at the polls in elections the same way?

Alarmed by a decline in voter turnout to less than 60 percent in the early 1920s, Australia adopted a law in 1924 requiring all citizens to present themselves at the polling place on Election Day. Although the idea seems vaguely un-American, it is neither unusual, nor undemocratic, nor unconstitutional.

Voting is also compulsory in local government elections, except in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

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In practice, compulsory voting means eligible voters must attend a polling place, have their name crossed off the list of voters, accept ballot papers and lodge them in a ballot box.Since Canadians made a record 79.4 percent turnout in the 1958 election won by John Diefenbaker and his Progressive Conservative Party, fewer and fewer have been showing up at the polls.



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