Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Mandatory voting proposal

I'd like to float the idea of mandatory voting. Many countries have this as a policy and impose a fine for people who don't vote. Mandatory voting could increase voter participation.

This is sometimes misused by dictators to prop up their image as a popular leader, but let's leave that aside at look at the case for it.

  1. Mandatory voting would make all citizens morally responsible for the government. They could no longer abdicate their proper role by saying "I don't trust any of them".

  2. Mandatory voting would cause more people to become politically educated and lower the risk of a determined minority to grab power.

  3. Mandatory voting would give people a feeling that they are part of the general society.

  4. The mechanics of this should be made such that voting is made painless for even the most immobile person. This can be achieved by a combination of mail voting, online voting and traditional, in person, voting. In addition prisoners should be allowed to vote once they have served their term. They are still members of society and have as much stake in things as anyone else.

We can expect the power elite to oppose this with false arguments about fraud. No one seriously worries about fraud with mail or online corporate proxy voting or credit card purchases or even bill paying. The real motivation is that the nonvoters tend to be the poor and underserved and may start to support candidates that favor their interests.

All the more reason to require everyone to vote.

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