Author Topic: Voting  (Read 2427 times)

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oz diva

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Voting
« on: September 20, 2011, 10:05:34 PM »
I'm pretty sure Australia is the only country where voting in elections is mandatory. This counts for all government elections from local council to Federal. If we don't vote we are fined about $50. It doesn't stop people from making an invalid vote, but everyone has to turn up to the voting place - usually schools, church halls and the like. Elections are always held on a Saturday so everyone gets the chance to vote. The only way you can get out of it is if you are incapacitated or overseas. Even my colleague's disabled daughter had to vote (or explain why did couldn't). I forgot to vote (via mail) in a local council election and I was fined.

But am I right, is Australia alone in making voting compulsory?

Victoria

Millionaire Maria

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Re: Voting
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2011, 12:35:46 AM »
Well I can't speak for the rest of the world, but in Canada it's perfectly legal to not vote.
People everywhere enjoy believing in things they know are not true. It spares them the ordeal of thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for what they know. –Brooks Atkinson

wheeitsme

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Re: Voting
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2011, 12:38:06 AM »
Another reason to like Australia.    ;) 

No, you don't legally have to vote in the USA.  But I was raised to consider it a civic duty.

gollymolly2

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Re: Voting
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2011, 01:25:48 AM »
I may be wrong, but I think brazil also has compulsory elections.

Brentwood

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Re: Voting
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2011, 01:28:48 AM »
Another reason to like Australia.    ;) 

No, you don't legally have to vote in the USA.  But I was raised to consider it a civic duty.

I consider it my civic duty also, and I've never missed a general election. However, I'm glad it's not legally mandated that citizens must vote.

dogcazza

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Re: Voting
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2011, 01:46:26 AM »
Not sure if Australia is the only country it is mandatory, but being Australian, I had to vote last year on the day I came out of hospital after having my son. We felt like rockstars walking the red carpet, going through the hordes of campaigners, who instead of bombarding us with armfuls of pamphlets, stopped us to admire our 4 day old boy!

Back on topic.... it just makes sense to me that voting is mandatory. The people need to elect their leader.  Good on all of you that vote when it's not compulsory!

cicero

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Re: Voting
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2011, 05:54:03 AM »
in israel it's not compulsory. i wish it were - voting statistics here are very low.

voting age is 18 - it used to be that you had to have turned 18 by a certain date but now it has to be by election day. one has to be a citizen and permanent resident to vote. diplomats, official emissaries, who are abroad - vote a few months or weeks beforehand. people who are in jail, hospital, army etc - vote in "mobile voting stations". they have special stations that are accessible for wheel chairs etc. 

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katycoo

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Re: Voting
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2011, 05:59:31 AM »
I'm glad that voting is compulsory in Australia - but wen comparing to the USA, the sheer difference in population would make it so much more difficult to do.

Oh - and you don't get fined for not voting if you never sign up for the elctoral roll.

I don't think many people in Australia realise that the elctoral roll is available to the public - full names and addresses (you do have to attend the office in person but there's no security).  I don't think that would go over very well in the USA being so privacy paranoid.

Sharnita

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Re: Voting
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2011, 06:09:47 AM »
I'm not sure that I'd want somebody voting to avoid a fine.  If it helps establish the importance of voting that is good but having disinterested or even resentful participants doesn't seem helpful. 

Milash

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Re: Voting
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2011, 06:32:27 AM »
I don't think many people in Australia realise that the elctoral roll is available to the public - full names and addresses (you do have to attend the office in person but there's no security).  I don't think that would go over very well in the USA being so privacy paranoid.

Actually you can apply  for a ' silent enrollment ' if you fear your life may be in danger. Or you can do it the bad way by moving house and not telling Australia post your new address.

 I like our way of voting here in Australia - except when everyone votes Opposite Party >:D

Thipu1

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Re: Voting
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2011, 12:18:45 PM »
I'm not sure that  compulsory voting is a good idea.

Mr. Thipu and I were brought up to believe that voting is both a duty and a privilege.  Our parents always voted and so do we. 

It's a shame that more Americans don't vote but I'm not sure that compulsory voting enforced by fines would help matters.  There are people here who don't register as voters because of the belief that voter registration records are used to determine who gets called for jury duty. 

Yes, jury duty is a major pain in the patoot but, when you're called, you go.

Voting does give you a say in what happens in your community.  We think it's an important thing to do.

marcel

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Re: Voting
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2011, 06:35:31 AM »
I didn't think Australia was the only country, so I did a quick search.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_voting
It also gives the arguments for and against (I am against myself, though I can see the advantages), so I want bother with those anymore.
Wherever you go..... There you are.

Mopsy428

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Re: Voting
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2011, 02:12:57 AM »
I'm not sure that I'd want somebody voting to avoid a fine.  If it helps establish the importance of voting that is good but having disinterested or even resentful participants doesn't seem helpful.
I'd rather have a low turn-out of informed voters than a high turn-out of ill informed voters.

Ereine

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Re: Voting
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2011, 02:40:15 AM »
It's a shame that more Americans don't vote but I'm not sure that compulsory voting enforced by fines would help matters.  There are people here who don't register as voters because of the belief that voter registration records are used to determine who gets called for jury duty. 

I find the idea of registering as a voter interesting, it's not done that way here. Voting isn't compulsory either but I don't think that our system would go over well in the US, despite the fact that our records aren't used for jury duty (because we have no juries in the way Americans have). It probably works only because Finland is such a small country with a heavily involved government but everyone is registered and when the time comes for elections they just go through the records and send letters to everyone who's eligible to vote. I'm sure there are people who avoid having up-to-date information about them in the records, though I've never heard of any and some people will forget to change the information when they move but if you want to have mail delivered to your home then you have to do it, the form for letting the post office know of your permanent change of address will also let the records keepers (the state church if you're a member or the magistrates, if you're not). I'm not sure if it would be possible to live an average type of life here without having the government know where you live (and once you let one department know they'll all know).

Because of another thread I've been thinking about how people without ID's vote, as you have to prove your identity when you vote. It's not particularly difficult to get an id here as you don't need a birth certificate (for anything), if you don't have an id the police will just interrogate you to make certain you are who you say you are (because they have records of all your past addresses, among other things) and though it's not cheap it's not that expensive either (though I only have a passport because of the expense, no other form of id) and I think that if you're that poor you're likely to be a client of social services already and they'll pay for it. And probably the majority of people have a drivers license, which isn't renewed here until you're something like 60. It's not really an official id (because you may be 18 in the picture and are now 58) but most places accept it, including polling stations.   

ETA: I did some googling and apparently if you don't have an id you can get one from the police for free. I gather it's only good for voting. You have to pay for the photos yourself, which may cost 12 euros or less. A member of the parliament proposed that if people can't afford that they should get their photos taken at the police station for free. Minister of Justice replied that the police should be able to concentrate on police work and that it's best to leave photographing to photographers. 
« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 02:46:12 AM by Ereine »

Mopsy428

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Re: Voting
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2011, 02:50:40 AM »
Some places in the US don't require you to show your ID to vote. So, yes, I could go down to the voting booth at 7 AM, vote as "Mopsy Rabbit", then go back at noon, and vote as "Flopsy Rabbit", and then go back at 5 PM and vote as "Cottontail Rabbit".