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Should voting in Canada be mandatory for people 18 and over?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2019 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 722 times Debate No: 120744
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
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First round can be acceptance or their argument. But opponent must clarify their position in this debate. I'm kind of a beginner to debating so if I am doing something wrong, Please tell me. Good luck!


I accept the debate challenge.
I will be arguing against compulsory voting in Canada for citizens 18 and over. As the opposition for this debate, I'd like to request my opponent to also present his action plan as to what the punishments should be for those who refuse to comply with voting if the motion passes.

Thank you. And the best of luck.
Debate Round No. 1


Voting in Canada is becoming a bit of a problem in the sense that barely anyone comes to vote. For example, In the 2015 federal election, Only 68% of citizens voted. In the recent election, Only 49%. It is simply unfair for only a portion of people to choose the future of the country as a whole. For example, Brexit is currently a heated topic right now, And it would effect the young people of the country's future. But who are the major voters in Brexit? Older people who don't really get effected too much by it because their about to die anyways(not trying to be mean, Though). It is unfair that people who aren't going to be largely effected by Brexit are voting.
Well, You might say "What if they don't care? ". But many do. Many people aren't even able to vote. Some poor people are working 2 jobs at once with minimum wage supporting 3 children, And they probably don't have time to vote. And in the end, It is their voices that matter the most. If you are middle-upper class, A change in the government won't really effect you. You will still have food on your plate and a school to attend to. On the other hand, Poor people don't. Changes in government could force them onto the streets, And breaking out of poverty is hard, As many are stopped by the chains of society. Because of this, Politicians target their campaigns on these middle-upper class people, Disregarding the lower class, Which is completely unfair. Making voting mandatory means that politicians will need to regard everyone in Canada's society, Opening us up to different points of views from people who actually experience how it is to be poor, Or rich, Or black or asian.
When voting becomes mandatory, Jobs would probably need to give people days off so they can vote, And I am fine with it. You might argue that, Well, Voting takes a long time and wastes everyone's time and the polls are far away anyways. However, Voting can be mailed to you, And usually the polls are very close to your area.


Thank you to my opponent for his argument. I shall now present my case.


Now judging from the jist of my opponent's argument he's presented a heavy case showing that there's inherent class discrimination in the voting process. Now to a certain extent, This is true. It's not deniable that to some extent lower income individuals are more susceptible to not being able to vote due to circumstantial reasons. However, This has not always been the case and in hindsight based on Canada's voting history and in other countries as well there are numerous other factors that come to play.
But to discuss this debate we need to understand the purpose of a compulsory voting scheme. It is the belief that the best way a political process goes smoothly during election days is that the highest possible voter turnout is presented. However, The discrepancy amongst lower income voters compared to higher income voters is a great deal more complicated than just being physically unable to vote. I shall present this below -

Case One - The Freedom to Choose and the Freedom to NOT Choose

Voting patterns are affected by socio-economic factors, Political factors, Environmental factors and so on. Without being too specific to the case of Canada, It's a relatively well established fact that lower income earners are less interested in political platforms due to (as my opponent brought up) their commitments to work and so on. As such, There are a great deal of citizens who are not educated on the policies of political candidates or particularily interested in any single candidate to vote for. Therefore a higher voter turnout is not necessarily the best thing because forcing people to vote can actually prove to be counterproductive in that a lot of people will then end up voting for candidates they know next to nothing about.
In addition, It's been said that with the freedom to choose comes the freedom to not choose. We as citizens should have our own right to not engage in a vote simply because we feel that we don't like any of the major candidates running for election. We need to remember and respect that at the end of the day it's not that people don't care to vote or care about who's running their country, It's that they simply feel that they do not have the time to focus on an election and that's their own decision that they're choosing to make which so far as I know people are not in open protest about.
"When voting becomes mandatory, Jobs would probably need to give people days off so they can vote"
There are already legal laws in place compelling workplaces to give workers time to vote on election day regardless of the obligation that person has to work. Your employer by law has no right to restrict your ability to vote and the only reason most people cannot find time is because some of them work multiple jobs and in the timeframe when their first job gives them the ability to vote they sacrifice that time to work their second job. Legally speaking just because you make the voting law mandatory this won't be fixed. If people are completely fixated in completing their day to day activities then there's no way by law you can hold the workplace they are working for accountable because another workplace is also taking up their time. And since the country can't just unanimously take a day off (you can't expect the whole country to shutdown for a vote) because at the end of the day people businesses still have to run and the market still has to flow.

Case Two - The myth of class discrimination

Because there is a lower turnout amongst lower income earners there's the immediate assumption (as my opponent did make) that the candidates will not care about promoting their platforms towards these citizens and instead focus on middle and high class citizens instead. That is simply incorrect and a complete factual inaccuracy. In no party's platform (nor was it the case in Trudeau's campaign during the last election) where candidates simply ignore the needs of the poor in favour of the groups where higher turnouts are more likely.
We need to remember that of those 68% that choose to vote, A majority of those voters are still low income earners. There are far more low income earners than there are higher income earners in the developed world due to the income distribution statistics. (Ex; a person who earns an income of X in Canada is perceived as a low income earner but compared to another citizen who earns Y in a country like India the Canadian's income is substantially greater). Therefore there is absolutely no case that says that there is inherent discrimination amongst the lower classes compared to the higher classes of society.
People amongst lower classes tend to vote for more simplistic reasons (because as I stated before they do not often have the time or reaosn to want to engage in the lengthly political process) and a lot of them are contempt with voting for candidates simply for promises such as better financed welfare schemes or more socialistic policies to help combat income inequality. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. While it's good that we should encourage more and more of the population to vote, There's virtually no need to force citizens to engage in what is perceived as civic duty simply for a higher turnout that is not necessarily always better.

Basically everything my opponent has presented about the problems of the voting procedure can be mitigated by making the voting process more fluid. (Ex; opening up more polling stations or increasing the hours in which workplaces are compelled to give workers time off to vote)
But to make it mandatory for the entire population is ridiculous and counter-productive in that the higher turnout won't necessarily benefit society nor will the law actually change the voting patterns anyway. Yes there will be an increase in the amount of total voters, But for the low income voters that work multiple jobs that my opponent is defending still won't get the time to vote due to the legal loophole presented by working multiple jobs on election day.

And finally I bring up the contradictive point that my opponent brought up in his speech -

"It is unfair that people who aren't going to be largely effected by Brexit are voting. "
Then why are you advocating for mandatory voting laws for citizens older than 18 if you believe it's inherently unfair to have a complete turnout that includes elderly citizens? If anything, This supports my point that the higher turnout isn't necessarily a good thing. You're advocating to pass a motion that'll force these elderly citizens that you deem as unimportant to the country's voting process to vote. I think that pretty much says it all.

With that, I hand my floor back to my opponent to defend the rather unorthodox approach he's brought up to pass a mandatory voting law in this debate. Best of luck to you.
Debate Round No. 2


ToasterMinistry forfeited this round.


Well, That's rather unfortunate. All my points still stand as of now.
Debate Round No. 3


Flip I was having technical difficulties the whole time, And didn't reply to any of my arguments in any of my debates, Sorry for the delay. . . . I'm kind of rushing today, So please bear with the grammar. . .

Case One

You talk about the fact that a great deal of citizens aren't educated about politics and stuff. Okay then, Why don't we just make it so that you don't need to vote for someone, Meaning you can leave your vote blank. Of course, There will still be people that may not write anything, But at the very least, It will get some people into politics and help them vote according to their goals and needs. We can also give more time than we usually do for people to vote. This will mean that politicians will NEED to consider everyone, As in our modern society, Politicians mainly target only to mid-upper classes. By adressing the poor more, It would be easier for peopl to learn more about their country's politics. Again, Look at Australia; their citizens are required to vote and they have one of the happiest populations in terms of citizen's needs, Expectations, And political participation. Again, You do not need to vote, All you need to do is go to a poll and write your name, But you do not NEED to vote for a politician. It encourages some to actually care and maybe influence the larger majority of people, And it does not take the exaggerated time many think it does. Most oftenly, Polls are very close to your home and voting doesn't take very long.

Case Two

"The majority of the 68 percent are low-earning citizens". First off, They are not. Again, The majority are middle class, While only a bit are of low income. This also contridicts your old point in Case One, Where you say that many low-income citizens aren't able to vote because they are too busy, Or some other reason. However, You follow up by saying that they only vote for simple reasons. Well, Hate to break it to you, But barely ANY of the lower class vote. However, My idea, Which is promoting voting, Forcing politicians to adress the poor more so they will learn more, And increasing the time to vote benefits the society as a hole. You also adress Trudeau. Lets look at Trudeau's case, If you want. He promised to the indigenous people of Canada better living conditions and so much more. However, After he won his election, What did he do? He just waved them off and did literally nothing to help the indigenous people. He threw them under the bus. It is pretty much the same thing with low income citizens.

And for your last point about my contridiction, I think I didn't make myself very clear. The problem with Brexit is that the younger people had no say in Brexit, Even though it affected their lives the most. It was literally only the older adults that decided the fate of Brexit. Teens and children didn't "not vote", They couldn't. I didn't even deem the elderly as unimportant. I said that they shouldn't have such a massive say in Brexit.


No problem with the rush. I was just a little bit worried that was the last I was going to hear from you in this debate. Thankfully not. Onto my responses then -

Rebuttal One - Lower Income Discrimination | Blank Voting Scheme

I implore you to present me with clear cut evidence from where exactly there has been an elected politician in a major election who has unfairly discriminated against the lower class in favour of appealing towards middle and upper classes. You have made a lot of claims about this type of discrimination and yet I still haven't heard from you as to where in the real world this happens. Personally that's all I have to say on this particular point because if you bring up an accusation about what is going on in the electoral system you need to substantiate that with evidence. (The unsubstantiated accusations you made regarding Trudeau have been addressed below)

Furthermore, The remedy you're trying to provide has no positive effect whatsoever. If you believe that people have a freedom to choose not to vote, Then there's no reason to physically force them to go to the polling station and abstain from voting. As we both discussed, A lot of people may be too busy to bother wanting to cast a vote in a general election. Voting for the sake of simply casting a ballot so that the turnout is greater is pointless. Those that don't care won't vote anyway. And those that simply vote for the sake of voting won't cast a rather educated decision on the matter anyway.

I don't think you quite understood the analysis I was making about Canada's low earning citizens. I was saying that by comparison to the rest of the world, Canada has a majority of low earning citizens due to their status as a developed nation. I never said that the majority were below the poverty line. But the figures (and I can get them for you if you ask me in the next round) show that based of Canada's cost of living a majority of citizens are essentially living as low income earners even if they aren't officially clasified as living below the poverty line. And in either case, Those that live in povertiy by definition in Canada is already pretty high. The highest amongst all the OECD nations. There have been a great deal of politicians in Canada that have introduced poverty reduction schemes and it's well established that the politicans are not ignoring the lower class at all.
We need to consider the very possible fact that the lower turnout in Canada is also due to contentment with the politicians that are elected. If at any point they do not feel content, They can always willingly choose to vote.

And finally your point about Tredeau essentially falls redundant and I will explain why. There are always a great deal of politicans (like Tredeau) who make electoral promises and then fail to deliver on them. Say in your example with indigenous people. First of all, It is quite undisputably unfair to assume that Trudeau has done nothing for indigenous people. The proposed budget that was recently released for Canada's 2019 fiscal year indicates that $4. 5 billion will be allocated for developing the living conditions of the indigenous community over five years. (Source below)

But beside the point. Even though there is quite clearly representation for the indigenous despite your rather rampant accusations that there isn't. Assume that in a hypothetical scenario there wasn't any representation. Like you have voiced out against Trudeau yourself, These things do not go unchecked. If a politician fails to deliver on a promise to a community that did not vote because they felt at content that the politicans will deliver on their promises, They will almost certainly voice out in opposition as you did yourself in the next election.
Like I said, They are perfectly capable of voting if they so wish. If they choose to say nothing despite there being a politician in government who is not delivering on his electoral promises, Then that is on them. And the limitations and the problems of accessibility to polling stations can easily be rectified with your plan that more hours should be given off for workers so that they have time to vote. But the need for mandatory voting is completely and utterly unnecessary even if it was to cast a blank vote (which is ridiculously pointless because all this does is increase the turnout) and it takes away from the citizen's right to completely abstain from taking part in an election that person does not want to.

Rebuttal Two - Younger vs Older Voters

As as for the last part about the younger-older voting disparity, This essentially talks more about whether the voting age should be lowered than having a mandatory voting scheme. I do not quite understand the purpose of bringing up the point about teens and young children in this debate since the title of the debate makes it very clear that you are talking about mandatory voting for people 18 and over. Those that voted in brexit who were 18-24 had just as much of a say as those who voted that were above the age of 60. So if your definition of the elderly having a 'massive say' in the political process is because kids could not vote, That is not actually about advocating for mandatory voting and more about lowering the voting age.

So as I pointed out, This is something you should have considered before you made the title of your debate. So by all accounts that last point of yours and your whole case about the elderly voting disparity (since it's clear now that you were referring to voters younger than 18) falls flat.

Over to you.

Source -
Trudeau's 2019 Fiscal Budget Plan for the Indigenous Community | Billions Proposed To Help Improve Living Conditions - (The National Observer)

Debate Round No. 4


After a bit, I could not find anything to refute my opponents arguments. GG and congrats, You've changed my mind a bit.

Sorry for not giving my opponent no strong opposition, :(


Good game then. Good debate.

Don't worry about it. The real purpose of these debates is so that maybe we'll all learn something new here and there. I also learned new things about the voting process myself researching for this debate.

Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by EverlastingMoment 3 years ago
If you're posting arguments you might want to remove the hyperlink sometimes and just replace it with the name of the article (like I did).
That's probably the issue you faced.
Posted by billsands 3 years ago
forcing some one to vote, Means their vote is not sincere, And people should be free to choose
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
I've always had mixed feelings about mandatory voting. I implore one of you to sway me with your statements!
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