[EM] Re: Election-methods Digest, Vol 2, Issue 44

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Mon Aug 30 11:38:45 PDT 2004

Chris Benham > Sent: Monday, August 30, 2004 6:41 PM
> CB: I  am an  Australian  citizen/voter,  and  I strongly 
> disagree that  "compulsory voting"  is  "fundamentally undemocratic".

Chris, we'll have to disagree on that.  

> What is called  "compulsory voting" is in reality just 
> compulsory polling-booth attendance,

To me that let-out is just pointless.

> This view of mine is near-universal in Australia.

I was aware of that.  I was given to understand that voting is regarded so much as a civic duty that
there is near-universal acceptance of compulsion.

>   It is widely accepted that  voluntary voting would  favour  the 
>  conservative parties over  the  Labor party,  and  on the very rare 
> occasion that someone proposes voluntary voting, it is seen as  a squalid partisan 
> attempt by the conservatives  to gain a permanent unfair advantage.

Party effects of differential turnout are common.  But most see that as an issue for the parties
concerned rather than as a reason for compulsion.  Of course, in Australia any change would be in
the opposite direction and so I can well understand the political reaction to any proposal to drop
compulsory voting.


More information about the Election-Methods mailing list