Resolved: In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory
|Voting Style:||Open with Elo Restrictions||Point System:||Select Winner|
|Updated:||9 months ago||Status:||Post Voting Period|
|Viewed:||1,164 times||Debate No:||90647|
Debate Challenge Status
This debate is going to user Seagull. If anybody else manages to accept this debate then they instantly forfeit the debate. I look forward to a great discussion as I have already debated Seagull before and am aware that he is a great debater.
This is a part of Tej's DEBATE OF THE WEEK efforts, and this will be this week's DEBATE OF THE WEEK! For more details please view the link:http://www.debate.org...
Resolved: In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory
1 - No Kritiks
2 - No semantics
3 - The burden of proof is solely on Pro due to their proposed change on the status quo meaning that only Pro needs to argue and Con needs to refute their arguments to win.
4 - By accepting the debate you accept the definitions presented
5 - The first round is NOT acceptance. Please post your arguments as you have the BOP.
6 - No source wars (you are allowed to critique sources but don't make that the focus of the debate)
7 - No trolling
8 - No forfeiture
9 - No plagiarism
10 - Failure to abide by the rules, definitions (below) and the full resolution means that all points will automatically be awarded in the person that didn't violate the rules' favor.
Democracy: a system of government voted in by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
Voting: a formal expression of opinion in regards to your preffered country or state representative.
Ought: used to indicate duty or correctness
Compulsory: required by law or a rule; obligatory.
Good luck in advance to Seagull!
Before I begin, I would like to thank Famousdebater for this opportunity to debate such an intriguing topic.
Thanks Seagull. As I mentioned in R1, we’ve debated before and I look forward to debating him again.
The BOP is solely on Pro meaning that I will not be obliged to provide a constructive case (though I will be making a short argument just to make my rebuttals clearer). In order for me to win this debate I must successfully refute Pro’s case. Pro’s case must be standing by the end of the debate in order for him to win this debate.
Democracy is built upon 4 key elements, as described by political scientist Larry Diamond. These elements are “(a) A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; (b) The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; (c) Protection of the human rights of all citizens, and (d) A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.” . The elements that I will be focussing on in my rebuttals are elements A and C.
Application of Democracy’s Key Elements
Element A clearly states that election must be “free” and “fair”. How fair something is can be subjective so I’ll be focussing on how “free” elections will be if people are forced to vote. Free is defined as “Not controlled by obligation or the will of another” . By forcing somebody to vote you are controlling them by obligation since they must vote regardless of whether they want to or not. You are also doing what is there will as opposed to what is your will (which also violates the definition of free).
Element C states that democracy’s purpose is to protect the rights of all citizens. By forcing people to vote they lose their freedom of choice , since they cannot choose whether they want to vote or not and it also violates article 4 and article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights since these rights regard freedom of opinion and freedom from slavery  - a slave is defined as a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them, which is the case here since voting will be compulsory.
The harm of a low voter turnout
I agree that low voter turnout is undesirable however I disagree that my opponent’s proposed measures are necessary. However there are people that have very valid reason for not voting and forcing them to vote would likely distort the interests of a nation further given that are large percentage of people that do not vote are actually undecided . On average, 70% of men are likely to have an idea of who they are voting and 61% of women have an idea of who they are voting for, meaning that 30% of men are undecided and 29% of women are undecided on average . This is a massive figure, showing that by forcing people that are undecided to vote, you are potentially making them vote randomly, without actually assessing the positives and negatives of every campaign. This can and will be detrimental in achieving a fairer society given that these statistics clearly show that people will not be decided.
Another major reason is that people often do not like any of the candidates  (which is something that I can say for myself regarding the elections in the UK - which is where I come from). This, again, raises the same concerns as above. If people do not like any candidates, then logically, when forced to vote they will most likely not vote properly which will once again negatively impact the result of elections.
Robert Montenegro reports that many people don’t care about their vote. If young people do not care about their vote then, in the scenario that they are forced to vote, they will probably waste their vote due to the attitude regarding the issue showing that they do not care about the outcome, meaning that there is no point (when looking at the issue from their perspective) in taking time to analyze the candidates and vote on who you believe in, if you do not care about it from the beginning. 
So whilst I do agree that a low amount of people voting is bad. And I do agree that if more people voted (of their own free will), then that’d be good. But forcing people to vote will allow undecided voters, people that don’t like any candidates and people that don’t care to have to vote, causing distortion in election results, thus not making democracy any more accurate or fair, as my opponent claims.
Impact Of Compulsory Voting
In Australia the same things as stated above are likely to be happening. Also, when analyzing compulsory voting we have to consider the bandwagon effect which is a common issue raised against the system. Given the high percentage of people that do not care about their votes, bandwagoning does occur and many case studies have been written on the topic. Compulsory voting does increase bandwagoning on votes significantly and is identified as a major factor regarding it . This data collected regarding compulsory voting, as well as the points made above show that Australia almost certainly experiences bandwagon votes, uncaring votes, random votes, etc. .
And with that, I hand the stage back over to Seagull.
Democracy is built upon four key elements
In Famous’ round, he introduced the concept that democracy consists of four key elements. He argues that compulsory voting violates two of these elements. I will address each in turn.
1: Does compulsory voting conflict with “Free and Fair Elections?”
My opponent claims that because democracy is “built upon a political system… through free and fair elections” that compulsory voting violates the “free” aspect. In addition to being a puerile way to apply freedom; the idea that compulsory voting attacks “free elections” is to misunderstand the concept itself. When “free” is applied to elections, it is typically applied to the idea that an election is “open.” Meaning the electorate is both able to participate and free to choose who to elect. For example; voting is not restricted based on ethnic, economic, or educational factors. Free elections means open to the people.
Famous agreed that low voter turnout is undesirable, but claims people “have very valid reason for not voting.” As I see it, he gives three reasons, none of which I find convincing. First, he argues, many are undecided and making them vote will essentially make their votes random. This is a simple fix, all we have to do is allow people to check a box indicating “undecided” so that their vote is counted and are still free to abstain. This solution also solves his second worry, specifically that making people vote will cause them to vote for someone they don’t want. This is nonsense. They merely select “none of the above” or write in who they would prefer. Nothing about compulsory voting limits who the voters may select in their vote. Finally, he argues that people do not care about their vote. Again, this is easily solved by allowing them to select “none of the above.”
Next, my opponent argues about bandwagoning. The issue with this contention is simply illustrated by the reality that “bandwagoning” is an issue with or without compulsory voting and thus does nothing to reject the resolution. Rejecting the resolution does not prevent bandwagoning, and supporting it does not result in bandwagoning.
The purpose of compulsory voting is not to make people vote for someone they do not wish to vote for, rather to ensure that everyone’s vote is counted. Thus, none of these concerns address compulsory voting directly. It should be clear at this point that Compulsory voting does not conflict with free and fair elections.
2: Does Compulsory voting conflict with human rights?
My opponent argues that forcing people to vote results in loss of freedom and effectively makes slaves out of the electorate. This is ludicrous. As explained above, compulsory voting does not result in a loss of freedom, but rather ensures that every vote is counted. Put another way, rather than negatively impacting your freedom, compulsory ensures it. Aside from this, the idea that compulsory voting equals slavery is asinine. The United Nation does not view compulsory voting as a violation of human rights in spite of my opponent attempting to cite them as doing so. Several members of the United Nations have compulsory voting laws, for example, Australia. Cleary compulsory voting does not conflict with human rights.
3: Compulsory voting increases participation in civic life.
Now that I have responded to my opponent’s objections, I will now address the elephant in the room. One of the four so called key elements that democracy is made of articulates why compulsory voting ought to be implemented. “The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life;” is a key element of Democracy. As demonstrated by my arguments compulsory voting ensures this element.
My opponent’s arguments are based on four key elements of a democracy. He argued that compulsory voting violates two of the four. I have shown it does not. Conversely we see that compulsory voting does help ensure the third key element. Namely, “The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.”
OBV1: My opponent makes some very drastic changes to his arguments and his advocacy which are problematic. He proposes that people should be given the option to vote “undecided” or that they are not interested in voting. This negates his entire burden and ultimately costs him the entire debate which I will explain in more detail as I address each individual argument.
OBV2: I think that it is necessary to reiterate the burdens here - so that voters and my opponent are aware of what they are. My opponent’s burden requires him to prove that the status quo should be changed and that compulsory voting should be implemented as opposed to the status quo. Since he proposes a change to the current system, it is evident that he must prove that a system of compulsory voting is preferable to a system of optional voting.
Whilst free can mean “open”. The definition my opponent proposes creates similar complications to my original interpretation. An election that is “open” to the people means that it is an election that is “available” to the people . Available (in the dative case) means “free to do something”  or “given the option to doing something” - thus both definitions ultimately lead to the same problems.
Regarding undecided voters, my opponent claims that undecided voters should have a box to tick stating undecided or none of the above. This is a late plan initiated which is poor debate conduct since if I initiate a counterplan in the second round I can simply use it to refute your arguments unfairly. For example, on a debate regarding guns, the proponents of guns may argue that the US has a strong gun culture. If counterplans are allowed in late stages then the opponent can simply say that it would be done over a long period of time so the culture disturbance would be minimal. The opponent could then continue to do this for all of the arguments and the proponent has nothing left to argue since Con’s position is so distorted from the original advocacy that the debate is no longer on the subject of guns v no guns but it becomes a debate of semantics and shifts of advocacy's.
Regardless, in this instance the counterplan is detrimental. It effectively makes compulsory voting pointless. Logically, all the people that will not vote, are not interested in voting or are undecided will just tick the box that states “none of the above” or “undecided”. This is virtually the same as my proposition. My opponent needs to state a reason as to why compulsory voting under this new plan is any different than the status quo in regards to elections.
Take the following hypothetical scenario: there are 100 people in total. 30 want president A. 60 want president B. 10 are undecided. In the status quo The 30 people will vote president A, 60 will vote president B and the undecided members will not vote. Therefore, under the status quo president B would win the election. In my opponent’s counterplan.
The 30 people would vote president A. The 60 would vote president B and the undecided would tick the undecided the box. President B would still win. The result will be completely unchanged. So I ask my opponent a very simple question: What makes his newly proposed system any better than the status quo.
My opponent ignores the fact that I specifically sourced the claim that bandwagoning increases in places with compulsory voting so his objections are irrelevant. I acknowledge that bandwagoning occurs in both systems but bandwagoning is more frequent as a ration in systems of compulsory voting because there are more undecided voters and unsure voters who don’t know who to vote for, hence why they vote for the popular decision .
My opponent’s objections and proposed changes cost him the debate. They make his newly proposed system incredibly similar to the status quo and since my opponent needs to prove that his system of voting is superior to the status quo in order to win, he cannot win this debate, as none of his initial arguments attempt to support his specific system of voting.
I am not just referencing to human rights. I am referring to rights in the law and generic rights (such as freedom of choice). Furthermore, I am not talking about whether or not the United Nations are intervening in these situations (the UN are hardly stopping every single human rights violation). I cited the universal declaration of human rights and specifically quoted the areas in which human rights were violated. My opponent drops this and instead looks towards whether or not compulsory voting is being penalized by the UN which is faulty logic to use when addressing whether or not a human rights violation is occurring.
There are many instances in which the UN acknowledges human rights violations but is unable to do anything about it due to the sheer number of violations that the UN is faced with on a regular basis . This is a minor violation by the United Nation’s standards (but a violation, nevertheless) .
The evidence is clear. This is a human rights violation (as I have cited). My opponent fails to refute the quotes and attempts to show that this isn’t a violation through the fact that there has been no UN intervention. I have proven this claim to be irrelevant since the UN cannot and does not intervene with every violation and this is a minor point (as I have proven by citing the priorities of the UN from their official site).
Each of the 4 element are equal in value. Let us say that they are all worth 1 for simplicity. So if 3 of these work in my favor and 1 works in my opponent’s then this point works in my favor since I have a clear majority. My opponent is correct in stating that his argument fulfills this one point however his burden is in direct contradiction with the rest (particularly A and C). In addition to this, my burden also fulfills the point that my opponent speaks of. Note how the requirement does not say ALL the people. This is because it simply needs active participation from people within society. Under the status quo this clearly happens and so this point works in my favor too.
Thank you once again Seagull for your round, and I hand it back over to you. The resolution is negated.
A Final defense
My opponent’s burden in this debate was to prove that in a democracy voting should be compulsory. His initial arguments were used as a means to defend this burden. He then, in his rebuttals and defense, insists that there would be a box for undecided or uncaring voters. This counterplan wasn’t initiated in his opening arguments and should be penalized as a result. My opponent opts in to actually defend his counterplan in his final round. He never actually defends the system that he proposes (with the option to tick undecided or uncaring) until the very last round. In the other rounds he defends the standard system of compulsory democracy in which you must vote for a candidate , his plan is NOT the same as the system that he originally defends which is why his counterplan is invalid and his defense should not be counted.
In the final round Seagull states “someone voting for “none of the above” clearly articulates the voter’s dissatisfaction whereas not voting leaves ambiguity.” This is a new argument in the final round (which is generally frowned upon). He also defends his counterplan in the final round (when in reality he should have been defending this in the first round. This limits my opportunity for rebuttal. Furthermore, Con’s reason is not compelling. He argues that with the addition of an undecided vote box there will be less ambiguity regarding why people do not vote. This is simply not true and I’ve already offered a source which clearly shows the percentages regarding how many people are undecided, how many don’t care, etc. This cannot remove any ambiguity if there is none to begin with. I have stated this is the case and sourced it (in the previous rounds). My opponent merely asserts this argument and therefore voters should not buy it.
My opponent dismisses my claims of his poor conduct as a means of avoiding his argument. This is untrue since I refuted his argument alongside making this claim, so this reason he presents cannot be true. Furthermore, it is poor conduct since a counterplan is a proposed change to your what you are affirming which ultimately keeps your burden the same. My opponent does this but does not include this in his arguments. He uses a counterplan (that he doesn’t previously introduce) to try and refute my arguments. I’m sure that anybody can agree that saying that you are going to make various changes in an attempt to distort your position so that it isn’t affected by your opponent’s argument is poor conduct and this is exactly what my opponent does. Pro does not do anything to refute the argument. Extend.
Next my opponent attempts to spot out a contradiction in that I talk about the undecided voters and the uncaring voters and then I continue by talking about bandwagoning. The problem is that I never said that the sole issue is undecided and uncaring voters. Bandwagoning is an issue that takes place amongst some of the undecided and uncaring voters in the scenario in which they are forced to vote. So actually the vote becomes more distorted than accurate (as my opponent claims). I did concede that bandwagoning is a problem in both compulsory and optional voting systems but I also made it VERY clear that it occurs in higher quantity in systems of compulsory voting. My opponent drops this argument too. Extend.
My opponent uses NO objective reasoning in an attempt to refute my arguments citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Right to choice. My opponent DROPS the rights separate from the UDHR (such as the right to choice). Extend.
Regarding human rights, I cited specific, objective and indisputable violations. Whether or not the UN acknowledges them as major violations is irrelevant. The fact is that they ARE violations and the declaration of human rights makes this very clear. My opponent ignores this. My opponent states that I erroneously apply the argument regarding slavery however he merely states this. He offers no explanation. No source or citation. The argument stands. Extend this point.
This is a clear and objective vote for the affirmative case. My opponent drops many arguments and the points that he does contest are contested weakly overall and I have successfully refuted them. I strongly urge vote to vote Pro!
I am waiving this round intentionally in order to maintain an equal number of rounds.
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