In some countries around the world, voting is compulsory. Do you agree with the notion of compulsory voting? If voting is compulsory in a democratic society, what are some conclusions we can draw about the nature of democracy?
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Voting is integral to a democratic process. Without it, democracy cannot exist. It is only through voting, can people choose their representatives. In this essay, I will elucidate why it is important to make voting mandatory.
Critics argue that voting is a fundamental right and making it necessary is undemocratic; a move that takes the freedom of choice away from people. Dissatisfaction and distrust in the government are very common amongst the citizens (Clark 2016). This reason is hence, given by many as a justification for not voting. On one hand, some people dislike the candidates, on the other hand, many express indifference towards the democratic processes. Apart from the independent choices of not voting, there is a significant population which doesn’t vote due to poverty and lack of knowledge of their rights (Patrick 2017). These reasons are exploited by political parties for their benefits.
Arguments supporting the choice to not vote do not hold water when we take into account the necessary role of the government in shaping the nation (Aly 2017). The following arguments demonstrate why voting should be mandatory; Firstly, a government is responsible for the functioning of the country. Decisions made by the government affects every individual’s life, irrespective of whether they vote or not. Hence, when people are forced to vote, they will make informed choices. Mass awareness amongst the people will help them choose a better candidate. Secondly, low voter turnout increases the chances of a candidate’s election, who is not fit to govern. For example, if the voter turnout in an area is 30% and one candidate manages to secure 20% of the votes, he/she would win the election.Thus, it hinders the development of the society because a candidate who hasn’t received votes from the majority of citizens makes necessary decisions for them.
Thirdly, citizens can choose NOTA (None of the above) option if, none of the candidates seem ideal for running a government. It was introduced to avoid the election of a undesired candidate. NOTA if voted for in majority, can cancel the election result. This is important because it prevents the election of a candidate who harms democracy. Hence, even if none of the candidates are good, one can vote NOTA and make a change.
Lastly, voting is essential for restoring the faith of the citizens in the government. It is only when the citizens keep themselves informed and vigilant, would the democracy function smoothly. In countries like Australia, Argentina, Brazil etc. where voting is necessary, there are higher levels of voter turnout than countries where voting isn’t compulsory (Electoral Commission 2006).
In conclusion, the right to vote is not just a constitutional right but also, the fundamental duty of every citizen. A lackadaisical attitude towards voting, not only harms those who don’t vote, but also the ones who participate in the decision-making process. Hence, it is necessary to make voting mandatory.
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