The Instigator
z_a_farb
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
bsh1
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points

Compulsory Voting for Presidential Elections- Yes or No?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
bsh1
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/28/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,028 times Debate No: 39570
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

z_a_farb

Con

Should voting be compulsory? I believe that the answer is no. Mandatory voting would infringe our right to be American. People have reasons why they choose not to vote or why they can't vote. So, we as the people of America should not violate the American people's right to choose to abstain their vote.
bsh1

Pro

I accept. I will present my case next round.
Debate Round No. 1
z_a_farb

Con

z_a_farb forfeited this round.
bsh1

Pro

Voting should be compulsory.

Contention One: Participation is needed for fairness and legitimacy.

Sub-point A: Disproportionate voting endangers and excludes the vulnerable.

Prof. Sarah Birch notes, "In a democracy, political fairness is understood largely in terms of political equality, for it is on the principle of "equal voice" that our entire democratic system rests. Yet current electoral events fail to grant everyone equal voice, because they fail to record all voices." Harvard"s Jason Mirisam posits, that "even after the state has removed improper or onerous barriers to voting, situational forces remain that depress turnout. These negative forces are particularly acute among socio-economically disadvantaged groups. Consistently lower voter participation among these groups has two effects: their preferences are not fully aggregated in elections and they have less influence after elections, as politicians tend to neglect the interests of non-voters. Higher turnout generally helps counteract these effects."

Sub-point B: High turnout is needed for community and governmental legitimacy.

Prof. Sarah Birch adds, "Low turnout impugns a number of fundamental democratic values such as popular sovereignty, legitimacy, representativeness, political equality, and the minimization of elite power. Majority will is central to democratic rule"When a government's mandate is informed by incomplete information about the wishes of the electorate, the legitimacy of its decisions may be in doubt." There cannot be a government of the people, unless the people participate.

Contention Two: Compulsory voting will address the aforementioned problems, and would be a positive contribution to democratic discourse.

Sub-point A: Compulsory voting decreases violence through promoting effective communication.

Prof. Jason Mirisam contends, "When voting norms atrophy in democratic countries, their citizens may cease to view voting as an expedient form of participation and political expression. With citizens less conscious of voting as a desirable form of participation, they are more likely to resort to protests, violence, and unrest. A society "in which a large proportion of the population is outside the political arena is potentially more explosive than one in which most citizens are regularly involved in activities which give them some sense of participation in decisions which affect their lives." Higher turnout"safeguards stability over the long-term."

Sub-point B: Compulsory voting forces free-riders to engage in the democratic process.

Prof. Anabelle Lever writes, "The key idea here is that a democratic electoral system is a public good, in that all citizens get to benefit from it, even if they do nothing to contribute to it. Because it is a public good, it is possible to free-ride, or to enjoy the benefits of that good, without contributing"Non-voters, therefore, can be seen as free-riders, selfishly and immorally exploiting voters"It is selfish and exploitative to benefit from the efforts of other people without making any effort to contribute. So, far from compulsion being unjustified"it seems positively desirable."

Sub-point C: Random votes would be extremely rare under compulsory voting.

Prof. Lisa Hill, "In Australia, donkey votes account for only around 1 per cent of total votes cast. More importantly, this figure is actually lower than in many systems where voting is voluntary. It is also worth noting that"there tend to be about as many deliberately spoiled and blank ballots as there are donkey votes; therefore at least half of random votes are deliberately nullified by their authors. This renders them incapable of distorting outcomes"the vast majority cast"valid votes. Given that compulsory voting can increase turnout by as much as 30+ percentage points, one percentage point of intentionally invalid votes and no discernible increase in donkey votes seems to be a tolerable cost of enfranchising the disadvantaged."

Sub-point D: Compulsory voting will educate people, and will motivate them to educate themselves.

Prof. Sarah Birch argues that, under a system of compulsory voting, parties will spend less time on "get-out-the-vote" drives, and instead spend time educating voters. She writes, "if conversion replaces mobilization as the main aim of parties during a campaign, [parties] have an incentive to focus on policy rather than on "hype", which should lead to an electorate better-informed about issues and policies. Secondly, if voters know in advance that they will be voting"they have greater reason to pay attention to the campaign than is the case when they can toy with the idea of not voting." Prof. Krister Lundell observes that people will also educate themselves. He notes, "participation breeds participation"people who take part in politics in one way tend to do so in another. Participation in the political process may bring about an interest in participation in other civic engagements, which in turn has a positive impact on the political competence among citizens"Mandatory voting may spur people to gather information about politics and societal affairs in order to make a reasonable vote choice."
Debate Round No. 2
z_a_farb

Con

Sorry I have not gotten back to you. Debat.org kept saying that the webpage was unavailable. I have only been using this to help with research for an in-class debate. Thank you so much for the help.
bsh1

Pro

Wait--so I spent time researching a conducing this debate to help you in class?! And you're not even going to debate me?! That's poor taste...
Debate Round No. 3
z_a_farb

Con

z_a_farb forfeited this round.
bsh1

Pro

Well, what I had thought would be a debate has turned into a massive waste of everyone's time. Vote for me.
Debate Round No. 4
z_a_farb

Con

z_a_farb forfeited this round.
bsh1

Pro

The instigator pulls a full forfeit. VOTE PRO! Thanks to everyone for enduring this...
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
ADreamOfLiberty
The public's first voting priority after making voting mandatory: make voting optional :p

Besides it would do more harm than good, even the people who do show up don't have a clue.
Posted by TheOncomingStorm 3 years ago
TheOncomingStorm
If no one takes up the challenge I can play devil's advocate to provide debate, but I do actually agree with the con side so I'll wait to see if anyone else comes along that does agree with the pro side.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
z_a_farbbsh1Tied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con wasted Pro's time, as well as that of the voters. Conduct for the forfeits. S&G for the manner in which Con formatted his case--the huge font was wildly distracting, and since Con only presented 9 sentences anyway, I felt justified in awarding S&G to the Pro. Arguments for the long and unrebutted case from Pro. Sources because Pro had some, while Con presented nothing.
Vote Placed by yay842 3 years ago
yay842
z_a_farbbsh1Tied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: FF