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Debate: Compulsory voting

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Is mandatory voting a good idea?

Background and context

Due to low voter turnout in elections, some respectable scholars have called for mandatory voting.

Political education: Does mandatory voting help educate electorate?

Pro

  • Mandatory voting has beneficial educational effect on citizens. One of the major arguments for compulsory voting is that, it would have an educational effect upon the citizens.

Con

Compulsory voting may discourage political education of the citizens because people forced to participate may react against the perceived source of oppression.


Democracy: Does mandatory voting enhance democracy?

Pro

Participation of all the people in the democracy. It would ensure the basic way of having the people participate in the government works and thus exercise their democratic right.

Con

  • Forced participation defies purpose of ‘right’ to vote. It is not democratic to force people to vote. It is a right, which a person can choose to use as per his/her will.


Quality: Does mandatory voting improve the quality of voting?

Pro

Mandatory participation increases the quantity of votes. Each and every citizen would have given his first preference and this would help in complete participation of all the citizens in the political affairs of the country.



Con

Forced active participation can reduce the quality of votes. Allowing or rather forcing ignorant people to vote can hamper the thoughtful votes of citizens who vote for with a reason rather than because of the coercion.


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