The Instigator
Lil_bit
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
bsh1
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

Resolved: In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory.

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
bsh1
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/9/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,571 times Debate No: 38690
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

Lil_bit

Pro

This is the current Lincoln-Douglas debate topic so I wanted some input before I go to a tournament. I've set up my case as if this is a true LD debate so if my opponent would do the same that'd be great. Good luck in advance to my opponent.

Franklin Roosevelt once said "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." It is because I agree with these words that I stand in firm affirmation of today"s resolution, which states:

Resolved: In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory. I will define terms upon the request of my opponent.

Before we begin I"d like to offer some clarification in regards to the resolution. The term ought implies a moral obligation to do something. In this case, the affirmative stance is saying that members of a democratic society are morally obligated to vote. It is therefore imperative to keep in mind that in Lincoln-Douglas debate, the main focus should be values and morals. If I can prove throughout my case that citizens are morally obligated to vote then the round should then flow to the affirmative side.

My value for today"s debate will be equality. Our nation was founded on the belief in equality for everyone and freedom to express ourselves. Without this, we lose our country"s values. My criterion in today"s debate will be government legitimacy. In order for a government to be legitimate it must suit the desires of the citizens of the majority to the best of its ability. Compulsory voting would allow previously unheard opinions to be known to government officials therefore making our government more legitimate and making society more equal. I will prove this with the following three contentions.

Contention One: Compulsory voting would allow for equality in politics.
T.S. Krishna; Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy; Spring 2012

"When the representatives in legislatures are dominated by the elite, the educated, and the affluent, the character of legislative activity is often biased against the poor and the backward, as shown at different times in many African and Asian countries such as Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. Money, power, and violence are indeed corrupting the quality of voting in many modern democracies. Although anybody could contest an election under the law, the poor may find it difficult to successfully contest an election because of the role of money and physical intimidation exerted by candidates from other strata of society. In such circumstances, the common people experience great difficulties in taking an active interest in the political activities of the state."

So as we can see here, in order for the government to properly represent all of its citizens, we all must state our opinions and give a voice to minorities in the country.

Contention Two: Voting stimulates interest in politics, legitimizing government.
Bryan Solari,Mandatory Voting Undermines Voting Rights;2008

"For one, political scientists suggest that, "the increase in voting participation may stimulate stronger participation and interest in other political activities." Democracy is a multi-faceted system that allows for opportunity to participate on multiple, increasingly demanding levels. Thus, the hope is that by beginning with the democratic root (the vote), the level of participation in the aggregate may grow to someday embody a majority that participates in challenging political activity."

One of the biggest arguments on the negative side is that compulsory voting will lead to uninformed voters casting ballots. However as this evidence shows, forcing people to become active in elections will only increase political engagement.

Jason Halperin, a writer for the New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, put it best when he said "The arrogance of those who would tell us who is "informed" enough to vote is mind-boggling. Where in the fifteenth amendment grant of the right to vote is the parenthetical that says "but this right to vote only applies to those who would cast an informed vote?" Now that the United States no longer has poll taxes and literacy tests, should states adopt current-events tests to weed out those voters who are not informed enough? The notion is simply outrageous."

Contention Three: Every important right contains a corresponding responsibilty.
Eric Liu, Should Voting Be Mandatory; Time; August 21,2012
"The most visceral critique is that mandating voting is just un-American. Yet jury duty, the draft, going to school, and taxpaying all have been compulsory without being called communist. At issue is what makes something American " and what makes liberty liberty. The Revolution and the framing of the Constitution were not about the right merely to be let alone or to do whatever one pleased. They were about our liberty to govern and represent ourselves. Core to that liberty is electing representatives and voting on public issues.That is why the best reason for mandatory voting has nothing to do with today"s politics. It"s about redeeming the central promise of American citizenship. Generations marched, fought and died for the right to vote. The least we can do now is treat that right like a responsibility."
The right to vote was not just given to everyone. African-Americans and women had to fight long and hard to achieve this right. We must appreciate and take advantage of the ability to vote that was earned for us. While it may take a little while out of your day to go to the polls and cast a ballot, in the end, it will pay off. If our nation implements a compulsory voting system, our government will be able to function better by looking at issues from all groups who would then be voicing their opinions.
bsh1

Con

The order will be NC, then AC.

CON's CASE

Compulsory voting poses a risk to the foundations of effective democracy. Thus, I negate.

Observation One: This resolution, by its own terminology, is not U.S.-specific; thus, this topic must be debated globally.

I Value Democracy, as it is the ultimate good implied by the resolution. Democracy is defined by American Heritage Dictionary as a "majority rule" government that embodies "principles of...respect for the citizens within a community."

I offer the Criterion of Reducing Illiberal Democracies. Fareed Zakaria defines illiberal democracies as one in which the people have a voice in government but lack the necessary sub-culture to make informed decisions. Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes, "democracy rests on an informed and educated populace. Education enables people to know their rights and how to exercise them." Therefore, it is important to ensure that the vast majority of the electorate is educated prior to making voting compulsory, because compulsory voting would naturally bring people who are ill-informed and unable to cast an educated vote to the ballot box.

Contention One: Illiberal Democracies are extremely dangerous, and undermine the principles of equality and respect necessary for true democracy.

Prof. Amy Chua of Yale notes that, within illiberal democracies "increasing the political voice and power of the majority has fostered the emergence of demagogues"like Zimbabwe"s Mugabe, Serbia"s Milosevic, Russia"s Zyuganov, Bolivia"s Great Condor, and Rwanda"s Hutu Power leaders"who opportunistically whip up mass hatred against the resented minority, demanding that the country"s wealth be returned to the "true owners of the nation."" Professors Dye and Ziegler contend that, "despite a superficial commitment to the symbols of democracy, the masses have surprisingly weak commitments to the principles of individual liberty, toleration of diversity, and freedom of expression when required to apply these principles for obnoxious groups or individuals"Masses are dangerously vulnerable to demagogic appeals to intolerance, racial hatred, anti-intellectualism, class anatagonisms, anti-Semitism, and violence"demagogues, are mass-oriented leaders who express hostility toward the established"are extremists and intolerant, impatient with due process, contemptuous of individual rights, anxious to impose their views by sweeping measures, and often willing to use violence and intimidation to do so"These tactics appeal to mass desire for simplistic solutions to societal problems."

Contention Two: Compulsory voting will bring in uneducated and ill-equipped voters; it will also increase irresponsible voting practices in the voting booth, thus increasing the chances of forming an illiberal democracy.

Sub-point A: Compulsory voting brings in uniformed voters.

Prof. Michael Pitts claims, "empirical research lends support to the argument that higher turnout at elections may just lead to additional voters casting uninformed votes"A study of compulsory voting compared voters who were compelled to vote with voters who would not have voted absent the compulsory voting regime. That study determined that those forced to cast ballots by compulsory voting were "less inclined to make their decisions in a way that coherently reflects their issue preferences" and that this increases the likelihood that an election outcome "will not accurately reflect the distribution of voter preferences" In addition, less informed voters might be more likely to cast ballots in favor of incumbents merely because of name recognition, or might be more likely to cast a ballot based solely upon the racial identity of the candidates. In essence, there are some plausible reasons to think that higher turnout could result in a less informed electorate and less accurate elections."

Sub-point B: Compulsory voting will not makes voters more likely to get informed.

Prof. Sarah Birch notes, "compulsory voting fails to raise levels of political knowledge. Those who vote due to compulsion may have little incentive to inform themselves, and some may actively resist the acquisition of relevant information as a form of protest...one of the main objections that opponents of compulsory voting have to the institution: that it brings uninformed voters to the polls, and that voting on a random basis by the uniformed can, under certain circumstances, have a substantive impact on the outcome which could well be construed as being undemocratic."

Sub-point C: Compulsory voting promotes random voting.

Prof. Mark Wattenberg observes, "People with limited political knowledge might deal with a compulsory situation by making dozens of decisions the same way they choose lottery numbers. In Australia, this is known as the "donkey vote," for people who approach voting like the game of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey."" In other words, people will vote for the person who appears first in the list, or whose name they like best, or some other equally arbitrary factor. These votes dilute the pool of votes that are cast by responsible voters, and therefore, this "randomizing" effect can impact the results in a negative way. Sarah Birch furthers, writing, "random voting could alter electoral outcomes, and that the larger the number of random votes, the greater the likelihood that electoral results would resemble a coin-toss. Enhancement of the stochastic element of the electoral process would lead to a deterioration in the democratic validity of the results, and it would impair the ability of elections to provide an accurate tool for translating popular opinion into political outcomes."

In conclusion, compulsory voting leads to uneducated and random voting practices; as a result, illiberal democracies become more likely. Because illiberal democracies are antithetical to the notions of equality and respect inherent in true democracy, it is vital that we negate.

PRO's CASE:

V: Equality - Pro fails do define equality, so I will offer a definition from Merriam-Webster: "the state of being equal" where "equal" means "same as another." Therefore, equality would necessary imply that all individuals should be placed into a state wherein they are as much the same as they can get. This could lead to ethically questionable practices such as resource redistribution, and could deprive those individuals who work harder to their just due, in order to ensure that everyone is treated "the same." Thus, equality is not necessarily intrinsically valuable.

C: Governmental Legitimacy - cross apply my case here. Clearly, if a democracy becomes illiberal, it loses its claim to legitimacy. But, moreover, Pro's definition of his criterion is unable to achieve his value. He defines his criterion as implementing the desires of the majority. Let's say that the majority of people in Nation X decide to pass a law that would outlaw being brunette on pain of death. Brunettes would be subjugated to persecution, and thus would be treated unequally. So, her own criterion, as she defines it, could undermine rather than support her value.

C1: Pro's own card admits that Pro would have to include the uneducated in the process. Furthermore, in all of the examples Pro cites, many of the first leaders elected were voted into power by the poor and vulnerable. Mugabe in Zimbabwe was elected because he won the black, impoverished vote. He was a demagogue, they were his sheep, and thus arose an illiberal democracy. Finally, the viability of poor candidates is more so an issue of campaign finance laws then it is compulsory voting.

C2: Apply the following: Prof. Sarah Birch notes, "compulsory voting fails to raise levels of political knowledge. Those who vote due to compulsion may have little incentive to inform themselves, and some may actively resist the acquisition of relevant information as a form of protest..." Pro's source talks about "suggestions" and "hopes," not likelihoods. Many will just see compulsory voting as a burden that they just have to deal with, not as a valuable means of participation, and so will continue to do the bear minimum. Finally, the Halperin evidence is not only U.S-restrictive, but it ignores the threats that illiberal democracies pose.

C3: There are three attacks I will make here: (1) that we have a right to choose not to vote, (2) there is not duty to vote, (30 abstention is important for political expression.

1. Prof. Sarah Birch writes, "the analogy is frequently made between electoral compulsion and the styles of political persuasion employed in authoritarian or totalitarian states""a totalitarian view of political life easily involves an obligation not only to vote, but to do much more--and to do it all moreover, in the 'right' direction.' "When the people are forced to choose democracy, it is no longer a choice."

2. Prof. Anabelle Lever writes, "voting is at best, only one form of democratic political participation, and from some perspectives not an especially important or attractive one. So, from the fact that political participation is valuable, it remains to be seen what importance we should attach to electoral participation. The second difficulty is that people who value self-government can have moral as well as pragmatic reasons not to vote."

3. Lever writes, "Rights to abstain, to withhold assent, to refrain from making a statement or from participating may not be very glamorous, but can be nonetheless important for all that. Rights to abstain, no less than rights of anonymous participation, enable the weak, timid and unpopular to protest in ways that feel safe, and that require little coordination and few resources. These rights are necessary if politics is to protect people"s freedom and equality, and therefore to reflect their duties as well as their interests."

My citations will be posted in the "comments" section. With that, I firmly negate the resolution. Over to Pro.
Debate Round No. 1
Lil_bit

Pro

Lil_bit forfeited this round.
bsh1

Con

Extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 2
Lil_bit

Pro

Lil_bit forfeited this round.
bsh1

Con

Extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
Lil_bit

Pro

Lil_bit forfeited this round.
bsh1

Con

Once, again, please extend my points.
Debate Round No. 4
Lil_bit

Pro

Lil_bit forfeited this round.
bsh1

Con

Oh the shame of a full forfeit...Please cleanly extend all of my arguments. They go utterly unrebutted. As the only debater with offense, and as the only won to have shown up to the rounds, I ask you to VOTE CON.

Many thanks!
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Lil_bit 3 years ago
Lil_bit
So sorry I forgot about this debate. It would have been a good one. I've been extremely busy. I'll be doing another debate like this when I get some free time.
Posted by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
For those experts whose qualifications were not given in my speech, these are their citations:

1 - Birch, Sarah Reader in Politics-University of Essex, 2009, Full Participation: A Comparative Study of Compulsory Voting, p. 42
2 - Doppelt, Jack C. & Ellen Shearer. Journalism Professors- Northwestern University, 1996, Non Voters: America's No-Shows, p. 10
3 - Lever, Anabelle. Philosophy Professor-London School of Economic and Political Science, 2008, "Compulsory voting: a critical perspective," British Journal of Political Science, [http://eprints.lse.ac.uk...], p. 11
4 - Pitts, Michael. Professor Indiana University School of Law, 2011, "Opt-Out Voting," Hofstra Law Review, Summer, 39 Hofstra L. Rev. 897, p. 920
Posted by Dr.Manhatan 3 years ago
Dr.Manhatan
i will be getting info on this topic and will be ready to debate in 2 days pls comment if you would like to debate with me
Posted by Dragonfang 3 years ago
Dragonfang
Assuming there are candidates worth voting for nowadays.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Jakeross6 3 years ago
Jakeross6
Lil_bitbsh1Tied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit plus legitimate arguments equals seven point win.
Vote Placed by LtCmdrData 3 years ago
LtCmdrData
Lil_bitbsh1Tied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF