The Instigator
pcmb
Con (against)
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The Contender
28kanikas
Pro (for)
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In a democracy, voting should be compulsory.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/23/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,336 times Debate No: 36955
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
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pcmb

Con

*This is intended to be an Lincoln-Douglas style debate, as it is the current LD topic. As such, Pro is obligated to provide a Value and Criterion. I will not present new arguments in the fourth round and expect Pro to do likewise. If you do not wish to have an LD debate, please refrain from accepting this debate. Thanks.*

Definitions/Observations:
*Definitions are taken from Google or Merriam, if you have a copy of Black's Law Dictionary, feel free to improve on these definitions.*

Democracy: "a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives."
Any nation wherein members of the national government are chosen and/or policy issues decided by citizen voting can be considered a democracy. To be truly democratic, a government must extend voting rights to all adult citizens. (We can exclude felons and the severely mentally handicapped if you'd like)

Voting: "a usually formal expression of opinion or will in response to a proposed decision; especially : one given as an indication of approval or disapproval of a proposal, motion, or candidate for office."

Observation 1: Voting implies that at least one valid choice has been made on the ballot. An empty ballot does not constitute a vote, nor does a write-in for an ineligible
"candidate", i.e. a minor or fictional character.

Compulsory: "required by law or a rule; obligatory."
Compulsory voting must be enforced by some non-trivial sanction. Otherwise, citizens are not actually being compelled to do anything.

Observation 2: Making voting compulsory is not necessarily equivalent to implementing any one of the various systems of "compulsory voting" that exist around the world. If voting is made compulsory, citizens must be compelled to cast a vote as defined above.

-------------------------
Value: Democratic Ideals
A democratic system of government must strive to represent the the citizenry as best it can. In an ideal democracy, government policy is wholly consistent with the will of the majority. Since no country or specific form of democracy is specified, the right to vote is the only right implied, and takes precedence over the bevy of constitutional/human rights that exist.

Criterion: Individual Political Autonomy
Democracy functions only when citizens vote in concert with their own beliefs. If a vote is bought or coerced by threat of force, it is illegitimate. If coercion affects an electoral result, that result is illegitimate. Likewise, if a vote is made at random, it is not a true exercise of political autonomy and detracts from accurate representation.

Contentions:

1. Compulsory voting exposes voters to coercion.
Voting cannot be compelled unless each cast ballot is reviewed for validity. If a citizen submits a blank or intentionally invalid ballot, sanctions must apply just as if they had submitted no ballot at all. This inherently allows enforcement agencies within the government access to said ballots. In corrupt democracies, the executive branch could and would use this power to manipulate voters, thereby undermining their political autonomy and rendering the democratic process illegitimate.

2. Compulsory voting marginalizing some political and religious groups.
Certain groups cannot rightly express their political autonomy in a compulsory system. German Communists, for example, cannot vote for their party, since it is banned from participating in the German government. Since Marxism is inconsistent with all other major political movements, a dedicated Marxist would have to submit an empty ballot in protest. If sanctioned, political groups in like positions would be marginalized, and unable to exercise their political autonomy. Similarly, Jehovah's Witnesses and a few smaller denominations refuse to participate in politics in concert with their religious beliefs. Compulsory voting makes the expression of fringe political and religious beliefs tantamount to illegal civil disobedience!

3. People vote for a reason.
When citizens vote in a non-compulsory system, it is so that their government is more likely to represent their own political beliefs. Those who consciously choose not to vote do not wish to have a voice in government, or lack sufficient information to form a strong belief on an issue. If an ambivalent citizen is forced to fill out a ballot, they are essentially casting a random vote. Under-informed citizens are, at best, basing their choice on televised attack ads which shed no light on the issues that affect or concern them. By flooding ballot boxes with quasi-random votes, compulsory voting turns elections into crap-shoots. Voluntary voters, those with a reason to vote beyond government coercion, are thus marginalized. The effect would be more pronounced in countries with low voter turnout, precisely the sort who might choose to introduce compulsory sanctions. Instead of empowering the people, compulsory voting introduces error into the democratic process.

4. In a democracy, compulsory voting should be voted upon.
Compulsory voting is bound to be inconsistent with popular sentiment. Voters don't want to be marginalized, non-voters don't want to vote. A nation seeking to become more democratic can hardly do so by introducing unpopular policies. That's just silly.

I eagerly await whoever's response.
28kanikas

Pro

There are different forms of government in existence. Democracy is one of them. The word "democracy" literally means "rule by the people." In a democracy, the people govern casting their VOTES. Whereas others forms of government does not support it, people have no power. It is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally"either directly or through elected representatives"in the proposal, development, and creation of laws.

Voting affects more than the election at hand. There are many other gains associated with voting, including political, community, health, expressive, economic and even altruistic benefits.

Personal Power
Voting is linked to "personal efficacy" - a sense of agency or power.

Issues, Policies and Community Concerns
Who votes ultimately has a powerful impact on government: on public policy, laws, appointments, budgets, and regulations enforced (or not).For the voter, the political process is about funding for programs they and their loved ones will benefit from, and about getting attention to the issues that affect their future and the future of their families. Countless factors are at stake, ranging from local and state services to national policies on children, families, the environment, the economy, education, healthcare and more. A vote impacts what and how issues are addressed.

Vote impacts Who's Elected, Who Has Access, Who Elected Officials Respond To &Who Runs for Office.

Voting is the best way to get one's opinions heard, as it allows one to select the candidate who best represents their view or views. In this way, the voters' future is decided by the decisions they make when voting. Voting also helps democracy to prevail and if people didn't vote they would be ruled by someone who wouldn't necessarily represent them or have the country's interests at heart.

A VOTE IS ONLY AS STRONG AS DEMOCRACY.Voting is an essential part of broader civic engagement that continues during and after the election.
Debate Round No. 1
pcmb

Con

pcmb forfeited this round.
28kanikas

Pro

28kanikas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
pcmb

Con

pcmb forfeited this round.
28kanikas

Pro

28kanikas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
pcmb

Con

pcmb forfeited this round.
28kanikas

Pro

28kanikas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by TryingAtLogic 3 years ago
TryingAtLogic
I must wonder how sound it would be to society to make voting compulsory.

I mean, if someone isn't willing to get into politics and vote and you're just making them, aren't the odds of the highest-checkbox or childhood affiliation remarkably high in regards to choosing? What's to say this scene doesn't play out:

Setting: 6:45am, or whenever the voting opens (I think it varies from state to state), in some place to vote my four-hours-of-sleep-mind can't remember. Just notice the time.

Vote-counter-person (whose name I alas am not privy to): "Hello?"

Voter: "Yeah, high. So . . . I have to be to work in fifteen minutes . . . and it's twelve away. That's a really, really long line . . . just check who you think is best."

Vote-counter-person: "Sir, we can't do that."

Voter (walking away hastily): "Then just check the top box for me!"

^^ I'm not joking. People, I have found, are almost clinically stupid. I'm sure they would put the priority of being to work on time higher than the priority of electing an official, because, let's face it, people can't conceptualize the idea that their lives are not critically important.

Just my thoughts.
Posted by Dragonfang 3 years ago
Dragonfang
Do we really need to vote to POLITICANS?

I'd prefer to not have a hand in whatever catastrophe they create in the office.
Posted by 28kanikas 3 years ago
28kanikas
There are different forms of government in existence. Democracy is one of them. The word "democracy" literally means "rule by the people." In a democracy, the people govern casting their VOTES. Whereas others forms of government does not support it, people have no power. It is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally"either directly or through elected representatives"in the proposal, development, and creation of laws.

Voting affects more than the election at hand. There are many other gains associated with voting, including political, community, health, expressive, economic and even altruistic benefits.

Personal Power
Voting is linked to "personal efficacy" - a sense of agency or power.

Issues, Policies and Community Concerns
Who votes ultimately has a powerful impact on government: on public policy, laws, appointments, budgets, and regulations enforced (or not).For the voter, the political process is about funding for programs they and their loved ones will benefit from, and about getting attention to the issues that affect their future and the future of their families. Countless factors are at stake, ranging from local and state services to national policies on children, families, the environment, the economy, education, healthcare and more. A vote impacts what and how issues are addressed.

Vote impacts Who's Elected, Who Has Access, Who Elected Officials Respond To &Who Runs for Office.

Voting is the best way to get one's opinions heard, as it allows one to select the candidate who best represents their view or views. In this way, the voters' future is decided by the decisions they make when voting. Voting also helps democracy to prevail and if people didn't vote they would be ruled by someone who wouldn't necessarily represent them or have the country's interests at heart.

A VOTE IS ONLY AS STRONG AS DEMOCRACY.Voting is an essential part of broader civic engagement that continues during and after the election.
No votes have been placed for this debate.