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The United Kingdom has been mulling over the options of electoral reform for many years. There are two issues electorate participation, and the electoral system. Participation has been in decline for several years, not least because the current system of "first past the post" is seen as unfair.

Reform of the upper house, the House of Lords, will most probably see the introduction of a proportional voting system, which would raise questions as to the legitimacy of a lower house, elected often without an overall majority of the electorate.

In consequence it seems likely the lower house, House of Commons, will change to a system of second preference voting. Under the alternative voting system, ballot papers would allow for a second preference vote which would be redistributed from the lowest-scoring candidate's share until one candidate has more than 50% of the vote.

The UK is also likely to consider compulsory voting, a practice found in some 20 countries worldwide including Australia, Belgium, Singapore, Luxembourg and Cyprus, compulsory voting is also law in some regions of Austria and Switzerland.

Voter registration in the UK, like most of Europe isn't optional, either the electoral roll is compiled by local and regional governments or is a legal requirement, as is the case in the UK, where all households must complete an electoral registration form received through the post. The means of enforcing compulsory voting is therefore already in place. Failing to vote would attract a fine, I think in Australia the sum is around AUD 30.

The argument against obligatory voting is that people who vote are generally better educated and understand the political system, forcing all to vote would create chaos and allow undesirables into power. In the UK this sort of argument was used to defend the status quo prior to reducing the property qualifications (1867), allowing all men over 21 the vote (1918), allowing all women over 30 the vote (1918), allowing all women over 21 the vote (1928), and allowing both men and women over 18 the vote (1969); Chaos didn't ensue. Likewise Australia has a functional democracy despite compulsory voting.

The obligations of school attendance, jury service and taxation are understood and accepted, so why not the underlying principle of democracy - the vote?

There is an article in today's Guardian giving further opinion, the above is my own.
I'm still trying to figure out what happens to someone who disregards Compulsory Voting and simply does not vote? What will benevolent authorities do, place a lien on their home, send them to jail, castigate them with harsh language, or just turn a blind eye? Will the State exercise it's ability to use force, by rounding up the non-voters and "fill in the blank"?

It's a farce, of course, made only to look good, and offer the State the ability to claim that everyone is a civic minded citizen and exercises that civic obligation. If ever there was the case for "Civil Disobedience", this is it.

Besides who, in their right mind, would ever really want to have a true democracy anyway? If 51% wish to have you incarcerated,........why, off you go. I have written about the evils of democracy before, used quotes in my signature from many learned people, including our Founding Fathers, and their disdain for democracy.

I dispise democracy, and want nothing to do with it.

Rather than go the direction of the Kooks left/PC world, I would rather go with Robert A. Heinlein's idea of a Franchised system(read Starship Troopers,......please), in which you must first EARN the franchise to participate in the political system. Turning loose a bunch of illiterate/ignorant/less than interested voters, is a recipe for disaster.

Anyway, that is my opinion Pepe. But you already knew mine, right?
John Wrote:Anyway, that is my opinion Pepe. But you already knew mine, right?
Yes John, we've already been over this one at another place, but as it's back in the news I thought I'd raise the subject here; though I expect little difference by way of answer.
Nonetheless, for someone ever eager to apply the "Euro Elite" label to my humble self, I can't help but be smile at the contradiction S5
Well, I'm tempted to support the idea, since it would insure liberal domination for the rest of time Think of all the 18-30 year-olds who don't vote now, but would vote liberal if they did vote!
Anonymous24 Wrote:Well, I'm tempted to support the idea, since it would insure liberal domination for the rest of time Think of all the 18-30 year-olds who don't vote now, but would vote liberal if they did vote!

Curtis, you forgot to add the phrase "so called"(because that's all it really is) to your idea of what Liberal means. Wink1
Okay. They would vote 'democratic'. You agree, though, neh?
Anonymous24 Wrote:Okay. They would vote 'democratic'. You agree, though, neh?

Depends on whether or not they are jackasses. Wink1
Forcing one to vote may be OK in a democracy,but not in a free nation. I think Saddam actually mandated this,sounds about like Britain to me.
In a truly capitalistic society, ones vote would be up for sale. In that case, voting would be remunerative. But pity the poor souls who found out that Oprah or O'Reilly were not on the ballot, and then had no clue about how to vote. With sufficient penalties for not voting, as John points out, these people would quickly obtain guidance and $ for their votes. Perhaps poverty could be ended this way.
John Wrote:I'm still trying to figure out what happens to someone who disregards Compulsory Voting and simply does not vote? What will benevolent authorities do, place a lien on their home, send them to jail, castigate them with harsh language, or just turn a blind eye? Will the State exercise it's ability to use force, by rounding up the non-voters and "fill in the blank"?
No one is frog marched to a polling station, you can opt not to vote but there is a penalty, in Australia it's a fine, in the UK, where the electoral roll is combined with household registration for local taxation, it's quite possible that non-voters would not qualify for a 'voter's discount' on their council tax, this would act to incentivise voter participation.

Paladin Wrote:Forcing one to vote may be OK in a democracy,but not in a free nation. I think Saddam actually mandated this,sounds about like Britain to me.
As above.

No nation is free of a citizen's responsibilities, you have your children attend school, you take part in jury service, you pay your taxes and if called upon you defend your country, why should voting not be a civil duty too?

Iraq under Saddam was rather a different proposition...

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