The Instigator
Pro (for)
12 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Lincoln-Douglas Debate!

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/4/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,340 times Debate No: 37116
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (2)




Hello. I've been looking forward to this challenge. So, this round will function as close to a standard Lincoln-Douglas debate as I can make it. That being said, plans, counterplans, "kritiks," off-topic cases, presumption arguments, theory, and tautologies are prohibited. There is no need for solvency. Debaters will be expected to offer a value + criterion structure, and to defend it. For more rules, see the following PDF:

The Rounds will be structured as follows:

Round One: Acceptance only.
Round Two: Affirmative Case (10,000 character max)
Round Two: Negative Case and 1st Rebuttal (10,000 character max)
Round Three: Affirmative 1st Rebuttal (5,000 character max)
Round Three: Negative 2nd Rebuttal (10,000 character max)
Round Four: Affirmative 2nd Rebuttal (5,000 character max)
Round Four: Negative will write "Thanks." Negative will not type anything else.

There will be no cross-ex. By strictly adhering to character limits, we ensure that both Aff (Pro) and Neg (Con) will have 20,000 characters with which to make their case. Neg may not make new arguments in rebuttal to the AC in his 2NR; however, he can make new points in defense of the NC in his 2NR. Aff cannot make new points in the 2AR. You will have 3 days to post arguments. Voting will last one month. By accepting, cubyo agrees to all rules; if Con wishes to change any rules, Con can post a comment or message me.

Topic: In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory. (Feel free to offer your own definitions or counterdefinitions.)

Sides: bsh1 is Aff (Pro) and cubyo is Neg (Con).

To Our Judges: Please cast your votes based on the rules and traditions of LD; for example, please use the winning criterion to evaluate the round. If you are unaware of how LD works, please refrain from voting or feel free to read up on it and then cast your vote. I sincerely thank you in advance!

I look forward to a great LD debate! Over to my opponent.


I accept, and look forward to a great debate!
Debate Round No. 1


FDR once declared: "Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting." Because I agree, I affirm the resolution.


" Democracy - democratic nation: a country with a government that has been elected freely and equally by all its citizens (Encarta)
" Vote " an opinion cast in deciding a disputed question or in electing a person to office (American Heritage)
" Ought " expresses desirability (Encarta)
" Compulsory " mandatory; obligatory (Merriam Webster)
I Value Societal Welfare, defined as the functionality and health of a society and the wellbeing of its inhabitants. When discussing a democracy and its decision-making process, we are discussing things that will affect the entire nation, requiring an analysis of the impacts on society.

I offer the Criterion of Evaluative Consequentialism, defined as "that which maximizes the desired value to be best." In this case, the desired value is democracy, as implied by the resolution. The resolution revolves squarely around the notion of compulsory voting and its impact on and legitimacy with democratic governance. Thus, what is most likely to maximize democracy is best. Democracy also has a direct link with my value, as explained by Prof. Michael McFaul: "'democracy provides the best institutional arrangement for holding rulers accountable to the people. If leaders must compete for popular support to stay in power, they will respond to their citizens" preferences. Rulers who do not need popular support to gain or maintain power will likely be more responsive to whatever group " the family, the military, the mullahs, or the communist party " controls their fate. The larger the number of people needed to elect a leader, the more inclined that leader will be to pursue public policies that benefit the majority. Not surprisingly, therefore, democracies "have consistently generated superior levels of social welfare" compared to autocracies at similar income levels. Second, the institutions of democracy prevent abusive rule, constrain bad government, and provide a mechanism for getting rid of corrupt or ineffective leaders. Truly oppressive leaders cannot remain in power for long if they must seek the electoral mandate of those being oppressed. Autocrats face no such constraints. Mass terror and genocide occur in autocracies, not democracies. Democracies do not prevent all abusive behavior, but over the centuries, democratic leaders have unquestionably inflicted less pain and suffering on their people than have autocratic leaders."

It is my sole contention that compulsory voting is beneficial for the democratic process.

Sub-point A: Compulsory voting will boost turnout.

"Academic analysis shows that compulsory voting is likely to produce a high turnout of voters, wherever it is used. There is no doubt that the Australian arrangements produce a high figure, for Australia's is one of the most consistently high turnouts anywhere in the world -- an average of 94.5 percent in the 24 elections since 1946. The Netherlands averaged a turnout of 94.7 percent before compulsory voting was abolished in 1971, and a turnout of 81.4 percent in the years since." [1] "One solution to the problem of low voter turnout is to require all eligible voters to vote by law. Approximately twenty-four nations have some kind of compulsory voting law, representing 17% of the world's democratic nations. The effect of compulsory voting laws on voter turnout is substantial. Multivariate statistical analyses have shown that compulsory voting laws raise voter turnout by seven to sixteen percentage points. The effects are likely to be even greater in a country such as the United States, which has a much lower baseline of voter turnout than many of the countries that have already adopted compulsory voting." [2]

Sub-point B: Compulsory voting reduces polarization.

"It is also possible that increasing turnout will increase the representativeness of the electorate in another way that might help put a dent in one of the major ills of the current political discourse in America: polarization. The electorate and the parties have become more polarized - some might say hyper-polarized - by playing more and more to the extremes and crowding out the center. This has a negative impact on political discourse and can serve to diminish participation by those citizens who have less extreme views. Importantly, the citizens who are currently being left out of the mix in terms of political participation tend to be less connected to the two major political parties. Put another way, the citizens who are most engaged in politics and turn out to vote also tend to be the most extremist in terms of political outlook." [3]

Sub-point C: Compulsory voting reduces violence.

"State actors have an interest in high turnout because voting helps sustain a peaceful democratic government. 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"." [4] "The Committee for the Study of the American Electorate"noted that there is an inherent danger to the orderly process of democracy that results from a lack of participation by most voters. Voting promotes "the civility of the national dialogue and the habitual use of orderly and lawful processes to effect change ..."An apathetic electorate"is a dangerous thing to a stable democracy. The possibility of unlawful conduct in order to create change becomes more likely." [5] "Unless public engagement with the democratic process improves, our leaders may well find themselves elected by precariously small proportions of the eligible population, which will cast doubt on the popular mandate behind their policy initiatives"the have-nots increasingly shun electoral means of addressing their concerns, they may resort to more disruptive forms of political action. Social unrest manifests itself as a quintessentially economic problem, but it is also closely linked to constitutional and political structures, as these structures define the options citizens have at their disposal for voicing dissent"Increasing the electoral participation rates of deprived and marginalised social groups is a key means of incentivising political parties to pay attention to their needs, and thereby of heading off destabilising forms of social unrest." [6]

Sub-point D: A fairer campaign process would arise.

"In addition to the direct effect of compulsory voting on turnout, there are also several indirect benefits. First, compulsory voting would reduce the role of money in politics"get-out-the-vote money could be shifted to other forms of campaign spending, but not all of it. A significant amount of spending on getting out the vote comes from groups known as 527s"nonpartisan groups that are not subject to campaign finance laws. These groups are limited in their abilities to campaign expressly in favor of candidates"With this implicit limit on spending, politicians and parties might focus somewhat less on fundraising and be less beholden to donors"Compulsory voting would bring a new population into play, and would force political actors to make changes in their campaign methods in order to take these new voters into account." [2]

Sub-point E: Special interests will be reduced.

"The existence of compulsory voting reduces the potential for fiscal spillovers between voters and non-voters and consequently reduces pressure groups" incentives to expend resources on lobbying"interest groups have more incentive to organize and spend lobbying resources advocating policies than taxpayers have to organize against these policies. Unorganized individual voters have little incentive to become informed or participate in the political process given the costs of voting relative to the small expected benefit. As more voters are coerced into the process, voting by the cost-bearing group will rise more than proportionately, simply because it is larger in size than the benefit-receiving group." [7]

Thus, I affirm.

[1] Scott Bennett, Parliament of Australia, 2005, Compulsory voting in Australian national elections, Parliamentary Library-Research Brief, October, No. 6, [], p. 1
[2] Harvard Law Review, 2007, "The Case for Compulsory Voting in the United States," 121 Harv. L. Rev. 591, p. 593-5
[3] Michael Pitts, Professor Indiana University School of Law, 2011, "Opt-Out Voting," Hofstra Law Review, Summer, 39 Hofstra L. Rev. 897, p. 920
[4] Jason Marisam, Post-Graduate Research Fellow-Harvard Law School, 2009, "Voter Turnout: From Cost to Cooperation," St. Thomas Law Review, Winter, 21 St. Thomas L. Rev. 190, p. 195
[5] Christopher W. Carmichael, Law Clerk to US Circuit Judge Bauer, 2002, "Proposals for Reforming the American Electoral System After the 2000 Presidential Election," 23 Hamline J. Pub. L. & Pol'y 255, Spring, 2002, p. 284-6
[6] Sarah Birch, Reader in Politics-University of Essex, 2009, "The case for compulsory voting," Public Policy Research, March-May, p. 21-2
[7] Alberto Chong & Mauricio Olivera, Inter-American Development Bank & George Mason University, 2006, "On Compulsory Voting and Income Inequality in a Cross-Section of Countries," Inter-American Development Bank Working Paper #533, May, [], p.9


cubyo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Extend my points.


cubyo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Extend my points again. Vote Pro!


cubyo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by funwiththoughts 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con failed to actually show up, so giving 6 points to Pro.
Vote Placed by Mikal 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: ff