The research paper lists the pros and cons, that commonly circulate in the argument over compulsory vs voluntary voting. The Cons; •It is not democratic to force people to cast their vote. •It causes over-government. •It represents a failure of democracy. •Most voting people do is voluntary, why should national and state elections be the exception? •It is unfair to a voter who is not attracted to a candidate. •It rewards dishonest electors who turn up and vote informal to get their names marked off the roll.
Compulsory voting has made life easier for the parties. •Parties don’t need mass memberships as people vote for/against them anyway. Less need to convince the electorate of their policies. •It trivialises campaigns, making them more celebrity run-offs than policy campaigns. •Parties ignore safe electorates. •It allows the idiots to vote. •People resent being dragged to the voting booth. •Donkey voting is an outcome of making people vote who don’t want to. •Quality of MP representation would be closer to their electorate as they would have to be more sensitive locally to ensure re-election. Australia is “out of step with the world” by requiring citizens to vote. The Pros of Compulsory Voting
The paper mentions that many of the pros take a view of it giving benefits to Australian society. Some of the advantages of compulsory voting; •Voting is another obligation that the state has a right to expect from citizens (like taxes, juries and sending children to school) •critics are not opposed to compulsory enrolment, compulsory allocation of preferences yet are opposed to compulsory attendance at an electoral booth. •Compulsory voting increases turnout, voluntary voting decreases turnout. Higher sample of public opinion with higher turnout. •Legitimacy of government is more accepted by a high turnout. •Compulsory enrolment requires compulsory voting.
Equalises participation and removes bias from less-privileged citizens •Increases citizen interest in politics and government •Forces the silent majority to think about elections which safeguards from extremism. •Voluntary voting makes election more expensive as parties have to spend money on “getting out the vote”. •High turnout produces a reduction in the incentive for negative advertising. There is familiarity with the system; Australia has a high public turnout for it. •It has become the Australian Way. •It is an integral part of Australian political culture.