Sunday, July 31, 2016

Should We Have Compulsory Voting

From guest blogger, Tessa.

I’ve had a hard time deciding how I feel about compulsory voting. Voter turnout in the United States has been extremely low, around 60% in the last few years, because the likelihood that one a single vote influences the outcome of an election is negligible. See suggest that compulsory voting will increase the legitimacy of the democratic government. I don’t necessarily believe that there will be market failure if we do not implement this policy, but I do think it could be beneficial. Because there is such a low voter turnout, there would be less margin of error in counting machines (such as the event in 2000, where the error exceeded the margin of victory for Bush). See also foresees that the electorate would be more representative of all citizens, since the sample is so skewed right now (racially and socio-economically). If people were forced to vote, they would be more inclined to become more informed about the election and candidates. If they are legally required to take time out of their day to vote, they might as well support someone who shares the same ideals and morals. Additionally, this policy would help reduce the role of money in politics and would also force politicians to change their campaign methods. Finally, politicians would have to shift their focus to different sets of issues because there will be new types of voters. Overall, I think this compulsory voting policy would be beneficial, but also doubtful that it will ever be implemented.

2 comments:

Kara said...

Tessa, I completely agree that while a compulsory voting policy would be beneficial, it will probably never be implemented in the United States. However, I don't think, if implemented, it would limit the amount of big money in politics. I think it would actually increase money in politics. More money would be spent advertising, spinning, and trying to persuade 100% of the population rather than a 60-65% that currently votes. Negative campaigning would just get more prevalent, and the 2 year shenanigan of the presidential election would be even more spotlighted.

Would local elections, judges, local representatives, senators, also be compulsory? In the local sphere, more can be done for the individuals. However, this would mean compulsory voting is not just every 2 or four years, but maybe ever year (depending on the city and location). Since voter turnout for local elections is abysmal, this would carry a gigantic impact on the candidates' tactics and could really encourage community participation.

Alex Hornibrook said...

I agree with the idea that compulsory voting would be beneficial, and that it is unlikely that it will be implemented. However, I don't see compulsory voting making a huge change in politics. There would be full participation in voting, which is optimal. However, who's to say that this changes an election.

Many people that don't vote as it is do this because they don't like the candidates that are running, they don't want or care to vote, or because they don't know enough about either parties to vote. Therefore, maybe it is not better for the election to force all members of the country to vote.

It is a difficult situation to predict,but I think implementing compulsory voting would not impact the election significantly.