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(Toronto Star)   Canadians who don't vote asked if they would vote on a law that would make it illegal not to vote, even though such a vote would require a majority of voters to vote to make not voting illegal and most voters won't bother to vote for that   (thestar.com) divider line 36
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215 clicks; posted to Politics » on 13 Mar 2014 at 9:20 AM (19 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



36 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-03-13 09:21:34 AM
Because Freedom?
 
2014-03-13 09:28:20 AM
Take all the money that is used to try and get people to vote and make it a lottery.  Give out a couple of million, several dozen cars, maybe even a 'tax free for life' incentive.

Voter turnout would never be higher.
 
2014-03-13 09:29:34 AM
We have a constitutionally protected right to freedom of conscience, in Canada.
Forcing folks to vote rather clearly impugns upon that.
 
2014-03-13 09:32:41 AM
I support this under a few conditions:

1) Polling stations open 24 hours a day for 90 straight days
2) No ID requirements of any form for voting
3) All votes tracked by paper receipts to be kept by the voter, the polling station manager, and polling observers of all registered parties
4) Voting opened up to all residents with no restrictions
 
2014-03-13 09:34:19 AM
I'll do anything that you want me to, yeah
I'll do almost anything that you want me to, yeah
But I can't vote for that, no,  no can do
I can't vote for that, no, no can do
I can't vote for that, no, no can do
I can't vote for that, can't vote for that, can't vote for that, can't vote for that

/ finally this screen name comes in useful
 
2014-03-13 09:35:18 AM

starsrift: We have a constitutionally protected right to freedom of conscience, in Canada.Forcing folks to vote rather clearly impugns upon that.


Although I would be curious to see the outcome of a mandatory vote here in the US.  I'm thinking a certain group would be voted out in one of the biggest landslides in history.
 
2014-03-13 09:37:12 AM
I support this initiative, IF they add a "none of the above" option.
 
2014-03-13 09:39:55 AM

starsrift: We have a constitutionally protected right to freedom of conscience, in Canada.
Forcing folks to vote rather clearly impugns upon that.


Even if you could just spoil your ballot or vote "none of the above"?
 
2014-03-13 09:44:06 AM
SOoooo. It doesn't matter how poorly informed a voter knows they are... They must randomly vote for someone... anyone...

...or "else"...

What's not to like? Throw in Card-check while your at it for a few extra "duty to country" points (hehe... "duty").
 
2014-03-13 09:49:36 AM
bossip.files.wordpress.com
 
2014-03-13 09:56:11 AM
 
2014-03-13 09:57:18 AM

Destructor: SOoooo. It doesn't matter how poorly informed a voter knows they are... They must randomly vote for someone... anyone...

...or "else"...

What's not to like? Throw in Card-check while your at it for a few extra "duty to country" points (hehe... "duty").


Your mistake is in thinking that those who actually turn up to the polls are in any way better informed than those who don't. They are not, they are simply more motivated.
 
2014-03-13 10:01:15 AM

Lost Thought 00: I support this under a few conditions:

1) Polling stations open 24 hours a day for 90 straight days
2) No ID requirements of any form for voting
3) All votes tracked by paper receipts to be kept by the voter, the polling station manager, and polling observers of all registered parties
4) Voting opened up to all residents with no restrictions


This is about Canada.  Please do try to understand that the US is not the extent of the globe.

1) No way.  Schools open to the public 24/7/90?  No.  WAYYYY, way too expensive.  Plus, our campaign season only lasts 3 weeks - unlike the US, where it never ends and therefore noting can get done in legislature.

2) No.  Canada (at least where I am) requires ID to vote, to prove your address.  It does not, however, require registration.

3)  So, multiple pieces of paper floating around, including being in the possession of political parties, with someone's voting info and a way to link it to the individual voter?  Last I checked the US had secret ballots - and so does Canada.  But then, it's not like the US has ever had a problem with voter suppression before...

4) Canada again.  Citizens who live here vote here, not all residents.  You really want some visitor from out of the country working in your town for a few years (hence, resident) to have a say over long-term electoral issues?
 
2014-03-13 10:03:42 AM

ristst: starsrift: We have a constitutionally protected right to freedom of conscience, in Canada.Forcing folks to vote rather clearly impugns upon that.

Although I would be curious to see the outcome of a mandatory vote here in the US.  I'm thinking a certain group would be voted out in one of the biggest landslides in history.


That group, of course, being "politicians currently holding office".
 
2014-03-13 10:03:58 AM

GavinTheAlmighty: Even if you could just spoil your ballot or vote "none of the above"?


That would be a start. Being able to vote "none of these" would be essential. Not voting can be the result of laziness but it can also be a message that the non-voter is against the political system. Democracies claim moral superiority over other forms of governing by obtaining authority from the people. If the majority of the people don't vote, that undermines that moral authority. Forcing people to vote is a way of forcing them to give their "consent" to be governed under the current system.
 
2014-03-13 10:07:40 AM

Benevolent Misanthrope: Lost Thought 00: I support this under a few conditions:

1) Polling stations open 24 hours a day for 90 straight days
2) No ID requirements of any form for voting
3) All votes tracked by paper receipts to be kept by the voter, the polling station manager, and polling observers of all registered parties
4) Voting opened up to all residents with no restrictions

This is about Canada.  Please do try to understand that the US is not the extent of the globe.

1) No way.  Schools open to the public 24/7/90?  No.  WAYYYY, way too expensive.  Plus, our campaign season only lasts 3 weeks - unlike the US, where it never ends and therefore noting can get done in legislature.

2) No.  Canada (at least where I am) requires ID to vote, to prove your address.  It does not, however, require registration.

3)  So, multiple pieces of paper floating around, including being in the possession of political parties, with someone's voting info and a way to link it to the individual voter?  Last I checked the US had secret ballots - and so does Canada.  But then, it's not like the US has ever had a problem with voter suppression before...

4) Canada again.  Citizens who live here vote here, not all residents.  You really want some visitor from out of the country working in your town for a few years (hence, resident) to have a say over long-term electoral issues?


The demands were not designed to be reasonable
 
2014-03-13 10:11:54 AM

Lost Thought 00: Benevolent Misanthrope: Lost Thought 00: I support this under a few conditions:

1) Polling stations open 24 hours a day for 90 straight days
2) No ID requirements of any form for voting
3) All votes tracked by paper receipts to be kept by the voter, the polling station manager, and polling observers of all registered parties
4) Voting opened up to all residents with no restrictions

This is about Canada.  Please do try to understand that the US is not the extent of the globe.

1) No way.  Schools open to the public 24/7/90?  No.  WAYYYY, way too expensive.  Plus, our campaign season only lasts 3 weeks - unlike the US, where it never ends and therefore noting can get done in legislature.

2) No.  Canada (at least where I am) requires ID to vote, to prove your address.  It does not, however, require registration.

3)  So, multiple pieces of paper floating around, including being in the possession of political parties, with someone's voting info and a way to link it to the individual voter?  Last I checked the US had secret ballots - and so does Canada.  But then, it's not like the US has ever had a problem with voter suppression before...

4) Canada again.  Citizens who live here vote here, not all residents.  You really want some visitor from out of the country working in your town for a few years (hence, resident) to have a say over long-term electoral issues?

The demands were not designed to be reasonable


Ah.  Carry on, then.
 
2014-03-13 10:20:08 AM
Mandatory voting doesn't necessarily get you a better result. Just look at the last Federal election in Australia: Still a bunch of knuckle-dragging idiots.

How about mandatory voting on a policy direction, rather than on charismatic people? Mandatory internet survey to determine where a person stands politically, and an automatic vote cast for the party most closely aligned with their philosophy. Leaders chosen by that party after the election.
 
2014-03-13 10:46:17 AM

CokeBear: Mandatory voting doesn't necessarily get you a better result. Just look at the last Federal election in Australia: Still a bunch of knuckle-dragging idiots.

How about mandatory voting on a policy direction, rather than on charismatic people? Mandatory internet survey to determine where a person stands politically, and an automatic vote cast for the party most closely aligned with their philosophy. Leaders chosen by that party after the election.


As an Australian, I'm very much in favour of mandatory voting, and preferential voting. These thing together - getting more people voting while allowing 3rd party votes to be more meaningful, make for a better electoral process. It does not, however, stop idiots from occasionally being voted in, as our current bush level PM shows, but it does help prevent things like voter suppression being a tool for some politicians, or general apathy leading to extremely skewed results. When the motivated fringes turn out to vote while the middle remains apathetic, you get more extreme politics in general, which isn't a great thing.
 
2014-03-13 10:52:30 AM

GavinTheAlmighty: starsrift: We have a constitutionally protected right to freedom of conscience, in Canada.
Forcing folks to vote rather clearly impugns upon that.

Even if you could just spoil your ballot or vote "none of the above"?


Correct. "Spoiling" your vote by voting for someone unelectable is still being forced to make a moral decision. "None of the above" also strikes anarchists wrong, or even just those who have some principle against the Westminster system (that's kind of easy to understand, voting for a guy who then votes in the PM from his buddies is a little strange when you turn it around and look at it from far away).
 
2014-03-13 10:56:38 AM
If Canadians did one thing to show they are not like their cousins in Baja Canada it would be get the mandatory vote.

The Crimea is about to vote 95% percent. Beat that.
 
2014-03-13 10:58:19 AM

starsrift: "Spoiling" your vote by voting for someone unelectable is still being forced to make a moral decision. "None of the above" also strikes anarchists wrong, or even just those who have some principle against the Westminster system (that's kind of easy to understand, voting for a guy who then votes in the PM from his buddies is a little strange when you turn it around and look at it from far away).


Voting for someone unelectable isn't spoiling - that's more a protest vote.  Spoiling is more about rendering your ballot uncountable - depositing a ballot that is not marked at all, or is marked for more than one candidate.  Spoiling is a physical term affecting the piece of paper on which one votes.  Spoiling can indicate disaffection with either the candidates or the system at-large.
 
2014-03-13 11:07:44 AM

GavinTheAlmighty: starsrift: "Spoiling" your vote by voting for someone unelectable is still being forced to make a moral decision. "None of the above" also strikes anarchists wrong, or even just those who have some principle against the Westminster system (that's kind of easy to understand, voting for a guy who then votes in the PM from his buddies is a little strange when you turn it around and look at it from far away).

Voting for someone unelectable isn't spoiling - that's more a protest vote.  Spoiling is more about rendering your ballot uncountable - depositing a ballot that is not marked at all, or is marked for more than one candidate.  Spoiling is a physical term affecting the piece of paper on which one votes.  Spoiling can indicate disaffection with either the candidates or the system at-large.


Oh, I see what you mean. Fair enough.
Maybe. I don't see the Supreme Court going for it, though, they're pretty pragmatic.
 
2014-03-13 11:16:26 AM

starsrift: Oh, I see what you mean. Fair enough.
Maybe. I don't see the Supreme Court going for it, though, they're pretty pragmatic.


Yeah, you're probably right.  I feel that it's counter-intuitive to promote a law that makes voting mandatory but still allows for methods that can subvert that law.
 
2014-03-13 11:17:55 AM

maddermaxx: Your mistake is in thinking that those who actually turn up to the polls are in any way better informed than those who don't.


My experience runs counter to yours, evidently.

It seems the idea behind such a law is to force people to become responsible voters. That's impossible (unless your North Korea. Vote or die).

Why do you want to force someone smart enough to know they don't know anything about politics to vote? What good does that serve? Also, what if someone genuinely doesn't now who to vote for? What are you going to make them do, turn over a blank ballot?

A right to vote must necessarily also include a right to not vote. Otherwise, its not a right at all.
 
2014-03-13 11:21:17 AM

EngineerAU: GavinTheAlmighty: Even if you could just spoil your ballot or vote "none of the above"?

That would be a start. Being able to vote "none of these" would be essential. Not voting can be the result of laziness but it can also be a message that the non-voter is against the political system. Democracies claim moral superiority over other forms of governing by obtaining authority from the people. If the majority of the people don't vote, that undermines that moral authority. Forcing people to vote is a way of forcing them to give their "consent" to be governed under the current system.


Spoilt bollots are not counted; all spoiling your ballot does is prove that you are uninformed. A "none of the above" wouldn't work either since everyone would vote that. A clear and concise abstention policy would be better, or at least informing people that you can actually register an abstention when voting. Best would be Single Transferable Vote or something of that sort. BC flirted with it, but the opposing parties made it out to be "too complicated" and so it was voted down.

/happy that elections only take three weeks
//how do you yanks survive the constant, never ending election cycle?
 
2014-03-13 12:04:47 PM

Destructor: maddermaxx: Your mistake is in thinking that those who actually turn up to the polls are in any way better informed than those who don't.

My experience runs counter to yours, evidently.

It seems the idea behind such a law is to force people to become responsible voters. That's impossible (unless your North Korea. Vote or die).

Why do you want to force someone smart enough to know they don't know anything about politics to vote? What good does that serve? Also, what if someone genuinely doesn't now who to vote for? What are you going to make them do, turn over a blank ballot?

A right to vote must necessarily also include a right to not vote. Otherwise, its not a right at all.


Leaving aside those with major mental disabilities, I have yet to meet someone who cannot understand the basic stances of the major parties at the end of an electoral season, and could not come to a reasonable conclusion about who more more closely lines up with their viewpoints.

I have also known militantly political people who are grossly misinformed or ignorant, but highly motivated out of a sense of identity or a single issue, and think they're more informed than they are (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect).

What I'm saying is that simply thinking you're informed doesn't make you actually a better voter, and those apathetic voters will often make a bigger effort to inform themselves if they know they'll have to turn up to an election anyway than they would otherwise.

The electorate as a whole is smarter, in my opinion, than just those who have strong opinions on the matter, and are motivated to turn up.
 
2014-03-13 12:22:16 PM
I'd rather make voting illegal than compulsory.  But that may be because I'm an asshole.
 
2014-03-13 12:22:18 PM

maddermaxx: Leaving aside those with major mental disabilities


Heh. Have fun defining that criteria. :-)

maddermaxx: The electorate as a whole is smarter, in my opinion, than just those who have strong opinions on the matter, and are motivated to turn up.


Perhaps. I know plenty of smart people completely disinterested in politics and voting. IMHO, its largely irrelevant in this context. It really comes down to this: Is voting a right, responsibility, or both?

If its a responsibility first, then you must vote. Like paying taxes.

If it's a right, then you should vote or refrain from doing so at your own discretion for your own reasons.

If it's both, then you should make it a point to vote for the greater good, but you aren't compelled to do so.

If Canada wants to force the issue, be my guest. More power to you, you crazy, wonderful Northerners! (I wonder what'll happen in Toronto...)
 
2014-03-13 12:33:56 PM

Destructor: maddermaxx: Leaving aside those with major mental disabilities

Heh. Have fun defining that criteria. :-)

maddermaxx: The electorate as a whole is smarter, in my opinion, than just those who have strong opinions on the matter, and are motivated to turn up.

Perhaps. I know plenty of smart people completely disinterested in politics and voting. IMHO, its largely irrelevant in this context. It really comes down to this: Is voting a right, responsibility, or both?

If its a responsibility first, then you must vote. Like paying taxes.

If it's a right, then you should vote or refrain from doing so at your own discretion for your own reasons.

If it's both, then you should make it a point to vote for the greater good, but you aren't compelled to do so.

If Canada wants to force the issue, be my guest. More power to you, you crazy, wonderful Northerners! (I wonder what'll happen in Toronto...)


I, for one, have no problem with mandatory voting. It will at least shake up the political landscape.
 
2014-03-13 01:38:25 PM

Mouldy Squid: I, for one, have no problem with mandatory voting. It will at least shake up the political landscape.


I'm speechless.

You would trade a right for a responsibility on the guess that it might be better? Heck, it's not even a responsibility. Suppose someone like me--except apolitical--is forced to vote. I'd just vote for clowns (ehhmm, Toronto) to spite the system.

I just hope they don't try that crap where I live... :-)
 
2014-03-13 02:43:26 PM
There was a famous drunk-driver-politician named Gordon Campbell. He was the Premiere of British Columbia. He did a bunch of unlawful things. when confronted by the pissed off majority, he claimed: "You voted me in, so I must be doing what you want me to do, no matter how much illegal things, that I am doing".

/The latest Premiere lady(R), committed voter fraud after losing, to then run 2 weeks later, to be able to win and be Leader of her poutine party.
//The media, owned by members of her party, said nothing, by never demanding prison time for her crimes.
 
2014-03-13 02:48:33 PM

Destructor: Mouldy Squid: I, for one, have no problem with mandatory voting. It will at least shake up the political landscape.

I'm speechless.

You would trade a right for a responsibility on the guess that it might be better? Heck, it's not even a responsibility. Suppose someone like me--except apolitical--is forced to vote. I'd just vote for clowns (ehhmm, Toronto) to spite the system.

I just hope they don't try that crap where I live... :-)


Oh, please. What good is a participatory democracy if no one participates? How is mandated voting giving up a right? Not voting is to abrogate all responsibility for the governance of the country.

It's not a guess. There are strong arguments in favour of compulsory voting. Under a non-compulsory voting system it is easier for special interests and lobby groups to motivate a small section of the people to the polls and thereby control the outcome of the political process (sound familiar?). Campaign funds are not needed to goad voters to the polls and the role of money in politics decreases (Citizens United anyone?). Compulsory voting can act as a sort of civil education and political stimulation, which creates a better informed population (oh, the horror, the horror). Higher levels of participation decreases the risk of political instability created by crises or dangerous but charismatic leaders (gee, I wonder who that could be?). The increase of political participation via compulsory voting means the the winner of the election better represents the "will of the people" and helps to reduce the disenfranchisement of socially marginal people. There is even an argument that compulsory voting decreases income inequality.

We have a duty and an obligation to participate in our own governance. Don't want to participate in that, then you shouldn't get to participate in the rest of society, starting with not getting to complain about what government does get elected nor the laws that are enacted.

We've made voting about as easy as it can be. If you can't be bothered to do it, why should you reap the rewards of being in a participatory democracy?
 
2014-03-13 04:17:15 PM

Mouldy Squid: Oh, please. What good is a participatory democracy if no one participates? How is mandated voting giving up a right? Not voting is to abrogate all responsibility for the governance of the country.


It makes the vote of someone who cares, worth more. Think of it as optional universal suffrage.

Are you going to require someone who only has 2 years to live keep current with politics? They just want to relax and die with dignity. But no: Now they have to get irritated and figure out what moron^H ^H ^H ^H ^H  politician needs their vote.

Mouldy Squid: The increase of political participation via compulsory voting means the the winner of the election better represents the "will of the people" and helps to reduce the disenfranchisement of socially marginal people. There is even an argument that compulsory voting decreases income inequality.


Marginal people have to be forced to vote? Wow, that's insulting if you're a marginal person. "Hey, you lazy non-voter, vote for your own good!" o_O

If you were to say to me, "Destructor, good news! It looks like we can achieve Utopia!!! Except for one minor detail... You have to give up your right to say, 'gesundheit'..."

Looks great on paper, you might even show me the math, and I could nod my head and agree with you. But, it's still not worth the price. Live free or don't.


Mouldy Squid: We have a duty and an obligation to participate in our own governance. Don't want to participate in that, then you shouldn't get to participate in the rest of society, starting with not getting to complain about what government does get elected nor the laws that are enacted.


Let me give you an example (this is U.S. stuff, but the idea is similar): The First Amendment conveys upon you the Right of Free Speech. If someone asks you a question in public, you're free to answer it, or ignore it. Convert that right into a responsibility to respond, and now you MUST answer it?

Imagine if we took the 2nd Amendment Right to bear arms and made that a responsibility to own a gun.... You MUST own a gun. Neat.

That's what this is. You no longer have a right to refrain from voting; to make someone who cares about this votes worth more. No, now we have to dilute the pool of wisdom with ignorance on the notion that this makes things better. The cost in terms of human dignity, if nothing else, is just too high.
 
2014-03-13 08:02:23 PM
Destructor:

It makes the vote of someone who cares, worth more. Think of it as optional universal suffrage.

Nuh-uh. "western" liberal democracies already have universal suffrage, i.e. right to vote. In the USA and many other countries, voting is optional. In some countries, e.g. Australia, voting is compulsory. Wait a moment, voting ISN'T compulsory in Australia. Registration is compulsory (i.e. you must by law register to vote when you turn 18), turning up to a voting station and having your name crossed off is compulsory, but you don't have to do anything with the ballot paper/s except put them in the ballot box. You can exercise your supposed "right" to not vote by just leaving it blank.

Are you going to require someone who only has 2 years to live keep current with politics? They just want to relax and die with dignity. But no: Now they have to get irritated and figure out what moron^H ^H ^H ^H ^H  politician needs their vote.

Who appointed you as spokesperson for the terminally ill? Just because you might find politics and keeping informed to be a massive PITA, doesn't mean everyone or even anyone else feels that way.

Live free or don't.

But aren't you forced to obey laws that you mightn't agree with? Ditto pay taxes? Doesn't sound very free to me.

<snip USA-only constitutional matters that don't apply to other countries>

That's what this is. You no longer have a right to refrain from voting; to make someone who cares about this votes worth more. No, now we have to dilute the pool of wisdom with ignorance on the notion that this makes things better. The cost in terms of human dignity, if nothing else, is just too high.

Oh puh-lease. 2/10
 
2014-03-13 08:41:47 PM

ol' gormsby: You can exercise your supposed "right" to not vote by just leaving it blank.


Yes. I can do that at home, too.

ol' gormsby: Who appointed you as spokesperson for the terminally ill?


Everyone who voluntarily voted for me. In my mind. What difference does it make? I figure I got 0-50 years left, if I'm lucky.

ol' gormsby: But aren't you forced to obey laws that you mightn't agree with? Ditto pay taxes? Doesn't sound very free to me.


Laws and taxes promote a civil society and its welfare. Well, that's the theory at least.

So, what's the goal of society, just to increase pressure on individuals to conform? Because make no mistake, that's precisely what this does. Conform, or else. Because we arbitrarily decided so! That's all it does. What, you think you're going to get a better outcome?

Hey, you want to get a better election result? Eliminate universal suffrage. Anyone who wants to vote has to answer three questions... Simple stuff, like, name the three branches of government. Name the current Vice President. Name one supreme court judge, or one member of the cabinet. Let's do that instead! Why not? We've already decided we can compel people to vote. And so, we can compel people not to vote too.
 
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