Spoilt rotten

Gordon gives a thoughtful discussion of the Spoil Your Vote campaign. I strongly feel that we should have a system in this country that is similar to that in Sweden – compulsory voting for all citizens (subject to a fixed financial penalty and combined with the introduction of more accessible secure voting methods) but with the addition of a "none of the above" option. Not that that idea on its own would solve the problem of people spoiling their paper or abstaining through laziness or ignorance. It is, at least in part, the duty of politicians to motivate the public to vote. In some instances, a minimum turnout is required for a vote to become valid – so it is not only the responsibility of the parties to win a majority of the vote but also their responsibility to motivate people into placing their X. Perhaps a combination of obligatory voting to motivate the people and a minimum "turnout" in the form of papers showing a cross against a candidate instead of abstention to motivate the candidates might, when taken together, lead to more meaningful results.

3 Replies to “Spoilt rotten”

  1. I clicked that link only to find out that the “Gordon” in question was me! Who’d a thunk it, thoughtful discussion indeed!!

    Anyway I think voting should be compulsory, but then I also think that the ability to speak properly is also compulsory, yet both require a level of education sorely lacking, so I’m not sure that fining people because of their ignorance is the way to go about it. However it’s probably the better solution and I can’t really think of another one… A big stick maybe??

  2. Someone I know reckons their mother should be barred from voting because she’s so thick, which is not a thought I would support – I think she’s deliberately un/misinformed, rather than thick.

    I know voting is compulsory in Australia. I can’t say I’ve ever really been a fan of compulsory voting, nor would I be particularly opposed to it.

    As a councillor I was always tempted to check whether people had actually voted before I dealt with their casework; but that would have been illegal.

    I have an idealistic wishlist of things that would improve turnout, ranging from a heightened level of proper debate to Sunday voting (either instead or additional to Thursday) but I don’t see any great merit in compelling people sulkily to trot along and randonly stick a pin in a list.

    Some say ‘X’ is the sign of Political Illiteracy. Fine words, but do they mean anything?

  3. Indeed.

    But if it WAS compulsory, instead of fining people who didn’t vote, can’t we just have a public list posted? That way when they next complain about the lack of police on the streets, the price of petrol or the poor standards of teaching we no longer need to argue with them we can just ignore them as they chose not to have their say during the voting.

    What? Works for me!

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