In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory
Debate Rounds (3)
are ethically troubling, though this is not obviously so. There is no reason to
suppose that people should be equally interested in politics at all times, or that all
people should find voting equally satisfactory.(stoker,2006) Above all, it is morally
and politically important to distinguish amongst different types of non-voters.
There may be reasons to be troubled by those who do not vote because they are
not particularly excited by any candidates, or because they are disenchanted by
their favored political Party " as the failure to vote may point to deep-seated weaknesses in the
competitive party system, and in the organization and ideology of the main
political parties. But these problems, real as they are, seem far less urgent than
those of the people who do not vote because voting and political participation of
any form seem as alien and remote as university education, stable, well-paid
work, decent housing, safe streets, and respect from other members of society.
The difficulty in such cases is to see how compulsory voting will address, rather
than exacerbate, the alienation of these non-voters, who are typically the objects,
not the subjects, of political debate and policy, and who typically constitute the
"problems" that politicians are competing to solve. (Irwin and holsteyn, 2005). In
this situation compulsory voting would impact the results negatively.
Contention 2: compulsory voting takes away rights .
30 The right to abstain, or to refrain from political selfidentification and
participation is an important one, symbolically and practically. It captures two
ideas that are central to democracy. The first is that government is there for the
benefit of the governed, not the other way round. The second is that the duties
and rights of citizens are importantly different from those of their representatives,
because the latter have powers and responsibilities that the former do not.
Citizens do not owe their government electoral support or legitimacy. This is one
reason to doubt that citizens have a duty to vote even though, as Rawls claims,
people have a natural duty to support just, or nearly just, institutions.(Rawls,
1971) 31 In some circumstances this natural duty might place citizens under a
moral obligation to vote and, even, to vote one way rather than another. The
point of democracy is to give people choice and compulsory voting takes that right
Contention 3:penalties for not voting and enforcement. Proponents of
compulsory voting tend to say that the penalties for non-voting are, typically, no
higher than a relatively low fine. According to Ballinger, "High penalties are often
thought not to be appropriate: such penalties disproportionately affect the poor,
and can lead to heavy costs on an electoral commission". (11) But even where that is true, it is important to realise that people can, and do, go to prison for failing to
pay fines, and that this is the case, as well, for those who fail to pay fines for nonvoting. For example, in 1999 Melissa Manson was sentenced to one day in prison
for failing to pay the fines incurred by her failure to vote in the 1993 and 1996
Federal elections. Manson, apparently, believed that there were no candidates
worth voting for, and therefore objected both to voting, and to paying the
resulting fine, on principle.(Hill, 6 " 7 and 17) Before holding that compulsory
voting is justified, therefore, we need to be prepared to make criminals of people
who do not pay their fines for not voting " and need to be confident that doing so
is consistent with the democratic values and objectives that animate this case for
compulsion. If compulsory voting is instituted the aff agrees to inforce laws that
infringe on peoples rights.
It is for all these reasons that I must negate todays resolution.
I hereby state that the opinions stated below and the arguments presented do not necessarily dictate my personal opinions.
As commonly proposed, democracy is of the people, for the people, and by the people. The basis of democracy depends on the effectiveness of the state to grant its citizens with the right to vote and the citizens to respect that right. Democracy exists on the notion that all the eligible citizens vote for a future that they would like to see. However, in many democracies, today, a decrease in this number of eligible citizens at the voting booths has been witnessed. This is why I call for voting to be compulsory in all effective democracies.
I will first present a mechanism that will address the issues at hand. Then, I will refute the arguments presented by Con as I go through my first two arguments and get to any points of rebuttal left at the end.
All registered voters will be asked to compulsorily cast a vote during the elections. However, for those who do not have a chosen candidate or do not wish to vote on the particular election, there will be an option to not vote which would say something on the lines of “I wish to abstain from voting”. Those citizens who are registered, but do not place a vote, will be withdrawn from the list of registered voters, until they register again. On the second time of registration, they will be fined a decently hefty amount. So, we are looking into a system where a onetime registered person will be expected to vote each election year.
There will be an additional law added which will ask all employers to give a day off for each one of their employees such that workload does not become an issue of low turnout.
Argument 1: A better distinction between the citizens.
People who are registered voters have an interest in voting for the country. By mandating them to vote each year, we are keeping our responsible eligible voters active. The turnout rate has gone very low with unequal turnout also a big issue. However, what the status quo does not tell us is the real reason behind this low turnout. Once this distinction is made, the state will be more aware of their political institutions. This will then help them see if attention should be paid to improve the campaigning systems and the procedure of political election. If many people vote to abstain, then the state will have to make sure that the political leaders express themselves better and also will have to see that a diversity of principles are presented by the leading parties.
Con argued that the registered voters not voting is mainly due to reason that they are “not particularly excited by any candidates, or because they are disenchanted by their favored political Party”. The best way to confirm this will be by asking these voters to show up at the polling stations and pick the option that says they would like to abstain. This practice will help us distinguish between the people who see the political parties of the particular year to be not legit from those who just do not want to make the effort to vote.
There are many other reasons for which one may not like to vote. One, being diversion from the workload and other being laziness. To make sure that these reasons do not rule the low turnout, the proposed mechanism should be adopted. The lazy people will be ousted from the registered voters list and would have to pay a penalty if they want to vote the next time. However, some of these smart lazy people will be able to see that they could save a fine and the time spent on the process of registering by going to the polling station. And if they are just going there, why not have at least some information about the parties. This will increase the effectiveness of a democracy, which will be addressed in Argument 3.
Argument 2: Unfairness abolished
It is important to notice that politicians place a lot of focus on making sure that their supporters go to the polling stations and place their votes, without regards to those who would probably not vote. However, if the proposed mechanism is adopted and voting is made compulsory for all registered voters, politicians will now have to make sure that most of the registered voters vote for them. They will also have to focus on the hard labor workers who could sometimes not make it to the polling stations and those people who did believe that the parties were not any good this election period.
Con argued that “the duties and rights of citizens are importantly different from those of their representatives, because the latter have powers and responsibilities that the former do not...Citizens do not owe their government electoral support or legitimacy.” This claim supports a system where democracy can never work effectively. Not only democracy, any institution cannot work without a mutual share of duties of the powerful and the ruled. The citizens do have a responsibility to vote, which in our system, could also be a vote of abstention. How can citizens expect to take advantage of a democratic institution without fulfilling their own job of placing a vote? Except those who have researched and did not get fascinated by a candidate, all the other citizens have a duty to keep tuned with the political parties and then make a decision.
Secondly, Con emphasized that compulsory voting takes away the right of people to have a choice, which Con suggested was “the point of democracy”. I would like to also emphasize that in the proposed mechanism this choice of the people will be respected. They will be given a choice to vote or not and for whom to vote.
The proposed mechanism will both support the rights of the people and ask them to perform their duties.
Argument 3: Democratic Ideals promoted
This argument will be presented in the next round.
Remaining rebuttals to Con’s case:
Con was worried about the fines that will follow after people will not vote. Con was right to say that this would negatively affect the poor and may increase the number of criminals who owe fine debt. However, the mechanism clearly states that a fine will only have to be paid if one wishes to register again. This will work as an incentive for registered voters to not skip a voting period. And if for some reason they do, they will not have to worry about a fine until the next elections and will only have to worry if they wish to vote next time.
None of the Con’s arguments so far have shown a downfall to the proposed mechanism for the motion at hand. The mechanism works really well to make a distinction between the citizens and find out the weaknesses of the political institutions of a state and also abolishes unfairness on many grounds.
This is why I urge a strong Proposition vote.
RNeezus forfeited this round.
Since Con has not provided any rebuttals, I will provide my third argument:
Democratic Ideals Promoted
Taking on this action of making voting compulsory would be only asking those who take advantage of the democracy to put in their work for the same democracy. We will be asking those citizens who wish not to go to a polling station to complete their duty.
Additionally, the fact that the registered voters would have an incentive to go to vote in the election year, they will be forced to keep up with the parties and the leaders. If they have to go to the polling station, they will think, why not just vote for someone. This thought will increase the number of people who would place a legit vote and would be voting for what they believe.
I would like to extend this argument, but seeing that Con has yet not provided rebuttals to my last two and has not strengthened Con's own arguments, I will delay the extension of this argument.
RNeezus forfeited this round.
Since Con has neither provided any rebuttals nor strengthened his case, I would like to urge for a Proposition vote.
No votes have been placed for this debate.