In a Democracy, Voting ought to be Compulsory. (LD Debate)
Debate Rounds (1)
Plato, the man who was considered the most influential philosopher of all times, once stated, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” It is because I agree that voting is so essential to establishing effective government that I support the resolution, Resolved: In a democracy voting ought to be compulsory.
Before I proceed to my arguments I’d like to define a couple of words in the resolution. According to Oxford Dictionaries, Democracy means a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. Voting is to register a vote. Finally, Compulsory means to be required by the law.
Therefore, the resolution clearly holds that I successfully argue for mandatory voting in democracies. In this debate, if I am able to convince you that democracies should adopt this guideline, you should vote for the affirmative.
My VALUE, or weighing mechanism of this round, is PROGRESS. This means that mandatory voting would improve America’s democracy and its voting issues.
Contention 1: Successful Mandatory Voting in Other Countries
According to THE NEWS (February 4, 2013), currently, 31 countries have compulsory voting, and yet, in countries like Australia, they didn’t have any revolts or serious problems with mandatory voting. In fact, voter participation has increased remarkably, along with the general awareness of the Australian citizenry.
On the other hand, the turnout rates of voting in the U.S. are rapidly decreasing, and the only way to increase the amount of votes is to implement compulsory voting. According to Keith Olbermann from Salon Articles (November 5, 2002), 50% of voter participation doesn’t make a democracy; mandatory voting is essential in the United States. If half of the citizens refused to vote, America wouldn’t be a democracy at all- it would just be a really large oligarchy.
Contention 2: Compulsory Voting Improves Democracy
According to Arend Lijphart, research professor of Political Science at University of California, low turnout is a serious threat to democracy because it distorts political influence, harms less “well-off” citizens, and destroys local governance. Compulsory voting is the best solution to overcome these problems. Yes, there are several other solutions such as infrequent elections, but compulsory voting, itself, can maximize turnout. Its advantages far outweigh the normative and practical objections to it.
Also, compulsory voting is the only way to ensure that every voice, even those who are least the least privileged, are heard and acknowledged in shaping political outcomes. The research assistant of the Fund for Scientific Research, ACTA POLITICA (2007), Bart Engelen explained that low turnout provides a reason for worrying, and compulsory voting is the utmost solution. “Understanding turnout as a measure of political participation, I have argued that low turnout provides a reason for worrying. Because compulsory voting raises turnout considerably, it is able to enhance the democratic values of political participation, representativeness and equality. The notion of democracy implied in this view is well-founded in the practices and theories of democracy: ‘democracy is universally understood as a form of government involving ‘rule by the people’, which has essentially been its meaning since the term and practice were introduced’ (Dahl, 2001, 3405). In this respect, I have argued that compulsory voting sends a powerful signal to the people that each and every vote matters and thus motivates citizens to participate in the democratic system, thereby ensuring that the concerns of every citizen, including the least well-off, are heeded at the political level.”
Contention 3: Mandatory Voting Works and Helps to Improve the Government.
The most decisive way for preventing turnout decline is compulsory voting: in fact, it is the only way that can cause turnout to rise anywhere near 95%. Research (from New York Times, November 7, 2011) shows that countries with mandatory voting also have less wealth inequality, less possibility of political corruption, and higher levels of satisfaction with the way democracy is working.
Lisa Hill, a professor of politics at the University of Adelaide, Australia, said, “ Here in Australia, where we love freedom as much as anyone else, we have a mandatory voting regime that is well managed, corruption-free, easy to access, cheap to run and has an approval rating of more than 70 percent.”
Judge(s), let me ask you: is voting just a right or is it also a duty? Democratic citizens owe it to each other to vote so that, together, they can constitute democracy and collectively enjoy the benefits of living in properly functioning democratic society where everyone counts.
First my opponents burden is highly abusive. It pre-supposes vc.
There are certain key definitions required to properly evaluate the terms of the resolution, and these definitions are as follows:
Ought: Used to express duty or obligation. (Black's Law)
My opponent does not offer a definition, so extend my definition, and do not allow my opponent to provide an alternative definition, as it puts an fair burden on the negative to defend against the definition. The negative effectively would have 1 less round with which to contend the definition.
Duty: A moral or legal obligation; a responsibility. (Merriam-Webster)
Extend this definition as well, as my opponent failed to provide a definition.
Morality: The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct.
I accept my opponents definitions of vote, Democracy, and compulsory.
The neg contends the highest value in this round is Morality.
There are 3 reasons you should use my value:
A) Morality is intrinsic to the resolution as the term "ought" is used in place of "should."
B) My opponent provides no definitions for "ought" or "duty," and defining a word in the 2AC is considered highly abusive. My opponent may argue about my definition but may not provide an alternative definition.
C) My opponent's value has not even been defined, so he doesn't even know what he wants to achieve.
D) He links his value to America which is a highly culture-centric view, as neither his advocacy nor the resolution discuss America.
E) My opponent never tells us why achieving his value is a good thing. Further he never links his value to the resolution, so it cannot be the value used in this round - there is no clear manner in which the 2 are related.
The neg will use the criterion Individual rights. This criterion ought be the highest in the round for the following reasons:
1) Morality deals with rights and obligations of the agent of action. 2) By virtue of being a democracy all reasonable scenarios involving democracies will value rights, as the right to vote is a right, and is intrinsically valued by any democracy. They all value at least one right, and the resolution directly states it by specifying "Democracy."
Aff Contention one:
A) Just because there is a lack of revolts or riots doesn't mean there isn't something wrong.
B) The affirmative never gives us a reason that higher voter turnout is even a good thing.
C) The aff never links this contention to his criterion. He does not tell us how voter turnout achieves progress. He does not achieve his criterion or mine. The result is essentially a no-impact argument, as it cannot be weighed.
D) In an oligarchy the people would have absolutely no say. If you were to use the logic of the affs argument all representative democracies are "just big oligarchies."
E) Ignore the "The News" card as it provides no offense, as there are no statistics, and he's not using the card to create warrants he's just restating his claim with someone else's words.
The Lijphart card does not state how low turnout distorts political influence, or how it harms poor people, or how it destroys local governance. It's a bunch of claims with no warrants, and drops.
The Engleen card even if accepted 100% at face value doesn't matter. There are absolutely no warrants to any of the claims, and none of the impacts matter because there is no link to the criterion or value. So even if my opponent wins this card he gets nothing for it.
"Because compulsory voting raises turnout considerably, it is able to enhance the democratic values of political participation, representativeness and equality. " We don't know how it enhances the democratic values of participation, it doesn't even specify what those values are! Representativeness doesn't seem to have a proper definition that I can find, and I don't think it's a real word. Either way, whatever it is, it's not intrinsically good, so it needs analysis to be offense.
Equality is not a universally valued concept. In certain cases (the battlefield for example) it can be extremely harmful. Without an advocacy, claiming the society values an abstract concept like equality is incredibly abusive. So there is no defined "society" we're talking about. Since it's a completely nebulous concept the aff could use this and claim anything with any impact that he wanted.
In LD debate statistics aren't used a whole lot, but certain arguments require them. Specifically "In this respect, I have argued that compulsory voting sends a powerful signal to the people that each and every vote matters." This is another claim lacking a warrant.
Cross apply my previous argument about the aff failing to link to his V or VC.
Cross apply the argument on the aff C2 about requiring statistics. Just because something is on a card does not make it concrete. This isn't CX debate you can't just quote someone saying "x is good and y is bad" and use that as offense!
If we don't know how it leads to end X or end Y how are we supposed to dissect the logic? Further the New York Times is a newspaper. It is reporting on a study in this article, and yet the study isn't contained in the card. This is clearly intentional abuse.
Further the card about Australia is purely the opinion of a single person. Unfortunately even the opinion of a high-level individual doesn't matter very much without either logical warrants or statistics. Further, the 70% statistic is intentionally misleading, and the author (not the aff, the author of the card).
I don't know if the aff quite knows how to use cards just yet.
The negative will now construct his case starting with an off-case observational framework followed by contentions.
Contention 1: Forced voting amounts to Government-Sponsored Slavery
The government in this case is forcing the individual to use their own time to work towards the ends of the government. There is no tangible reward for doing so, and therefore it is essentially temporary slavery. This links directly back to my criterion as it is violating rights of autonomy.
Contention 2: Forced voting leads to more uninformed votes
It can be empirically observed that there are a lot of people uninformed when it comes to politics. In the status quo in my opponents seeming advocacy these people simply choose not to cast their votes. Australia is a perfect example of a mandatory voting system gone absolutely wrong. For example, if you are a criminal, the police can search your house at any point without a warrant as a "check-up." Further, the press has no freedom, and there is no guarantee of the freedom of speech.
How could this happen in so short a period? In only 2 decades? What has changed?
Voting is now mandatory.
This impacts back directly to my criterion, as it leads to violations of basic human rights (Freedom of speech etc)
Since ought is the term used by the resolution it is intrinsically tied to morality. *Since I have established that the only proper way to evaluate whether or not we are being moral is maximizing human rights. Further, it establishes a clear scenario in which the values the neg puts forth are violated.
Contention 3: The majority of the population is uneducated
In any first world country there is what are known as "economic stratos" which are essentially class systems. At the high end of this system you have a small percentage of people (ie the 1%), followed by a larger class who are also educated, but not as wealthy. According to the CIA fact book less than 40% of people have higher education, and nearly 8% of people are illiterate.
The negative posits the question: Do we want illiterate individuals to be voting? The burden is on the aff to prove that illiterate individuals voting leads to the maximization of human rights.
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