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Should Compulsory Voting Be Made Compulsory To Encourage Political Participation?

1753 words - 8 pages

Though we live in a democratic society, there are a large number of people who remain politically disengaged. Should voting be made compulsory in order to encourage political participation? Compulsory voting has the potential to increase participation and also encourage political engagement.
There are many positive things that are produced after enacting compulsory voting according to Eric Lund “in Western democracies demographically and culturally similar to the United States, this comment suggests that enactment of comparable laws would benefit our political system in four ways. Such law would (1) provide a system more representative of the general public, (2) increase the amount of moderate politicians who are willing to cooperate and compromise with each other, (3) reduce the incentive for campaigns to target special interest groups, super PACs, and corporations, who now have unbridled ability to fund election efforts under the recent Citizens United decision,'" and (4) instill a sense of civic responsibility in the American electorate, thereby increasing participation in the U.S. political system.” (Lund and Others 2013, 90—147)
Compulsory voting would encourage the large group of none voters to participate, helping to address the issue that low participation is caused by a lack of interest in politics. “Compulsory voting is first and foremost an institutional remedy for low electoral turnout” (Lund and Others. 2013, 90--147) However if it has become mandatory that everyone votes a person may feel more inclined to inform his or herself on the subject matter, political parties and leaders they are voting on. If everyone is required to vote campaigns will no longer target special interest groups as they will all have to vote regardless, voters will be able to educate themselves on matters without biased elections campaigns swaying attempting to sway their decision.
More informed voters would most likely lead to the most effective democratic system. With compulsory voting, voters will be more aware of what it is they are voting for causing them to in turn become more involved in the entire system. The more voters want to become involved the more like it will be that they will want to participate in political actions and influence decisions, simply because now they are more informed as to what their government is doing. The more voters become aware the more active they will become in the politics and the more democratic the system will become as the public ideally would gain more of a say in what happens.
There are also some potential drawbacks when the idea of compulsory voting is taken into consideration. One of those drawbacks being carelessness in regards to voting, “if voting is compulsory then voters may find it rational to vote insincerely, i.e against their private information”(Bhattacharya and Duffy et al. 2014.) Meaning that, because the vote is compulsory a voter may simply vote because it is now mandatory that...

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