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Why is voting not compulsory in the US?

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Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 15
There seems to be very little reason for not forcing everyone get off the couch to have their say...

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  • jzero
    If you were FORCED to vote, then you wouldn't be free, would you? Do they make you do it in Oz?

    There are things that are compulsory, like having a license to drive, that have benefits for everyone. But voting is its own reward, so you should be free not to vote. I don't want people who don't care clogging up the system.

    /jzero
  • DavidCoen
    yes, they do force you to vote in australia, btw. Else a $85 fine (about $55 USD)

    and i also happen to support compulsory voting, else to my mind it is not a responcible democracy (if not compulsory, then people don't take responciblity for the choices that there contry makes, though i guess that is the point, for many people in the states, they 'are' the world)
  • gauss
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    gauss polycounter lvl 12
    jzero's got it. some people just don't care; it's their loss. if you force people to vote who don't care to participate in the system, in my mind that opens it up to all manner of possible abuses.
  • Wells
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    Wells polycounter lvl 15
    i always thought the right not to vote sums up democracy rather well.

    but i know very little of what i speak tongue.gif
  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 15
    [ QUOTE ]
    There are things that are compulsory, like having a licensed to drive

    [/ QUOTE ]You guys are forced to purchase a drivers liscense? That doesn't sound very free to me.

    As for Australia, our voting is indeed compulsory, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Afterall if not all the 'common people' have their say, it kind of defeats the purpose and also allows for governments to try all sorts of little tricks to exclude or disuade certain groups of people. The only way they can do that here is to screw with the final dates for enrollment, which they seem to do rather a lot.
  • Toomas
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    Toomas polycounter lvl 14
    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    There are things that are compulsory, like having a licensed to drive

    [/ QUOTE ]You guys are forced to purchase a drivers liscense? What kind of madness is that?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I had to pass exams and pay a fee to get my license (and im not from USA), in Aussieland you dont need a license?
    Also its the 1st time ive heard of a place where you MUST vote. IMHO its a bad thing, people have no clue and they just tick some random box to get it over with.
  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 15
    Ye gods, no wonder the environment is so screwed if people are being forced to get cars regardless of whether they need them. If it was just the US, I'd make some jibe about the oil companies controlling the government, but I guess if estonias in on it to, then theres just a larger protion of the world under insane government than I thought. I think I'll be less inclined to deride my own now... for a few minutes at least.
  • Vailias
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    Vailias polycounter lvl 16
    AFAIK the requirement is to have some form of ID, the most common is a driver's license as it confers the additional legal ability to operate a car, but most states also offer a state ID, which looks like a DL, but costs less and doesn't let you drive. The actual statutes varry from state to state. The ID thing is not a Federal mandate.

    Many places in the US practically require a car to live as well. Especially throughout the west. Hell I commute a good 15 miles (~24km) to work each day and never leave the same city. This is a city with a population of only about 800,000.

    ON Topic: Its not just a freedom not to care, but a freedom to disagree with all options. Admittedly not voting in protest is ineffective, but that is also why a "write in" slot is provided for most, if not all, major offices. It is theoretically possible for someone to win office who was not even on the ballot "officially".
  • Toomas
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    Toomas polycounter lvl 14
    [ QUOTE ]
    Ye gods, no wonder the environment is so screwed if people are being forced to get cars regardless of whether they need them. If it was just the US, I'd make some jibe about the oil companies controlling the government, but I guess if estonias in on it to, then theres just a larger protion of the world under insane government than I thought. I think I'll be less inclined to deride my own now... for a few minutes at least.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    If you stopped using misleading wording and picking on each small thing the world would be much much better place.
    Go drink your piss and stop picking :P
  • JKMakowka
    I agree that voting should absolutly not be compulsary, but on the other hand everyone should be automaticly be registered to be able to vote (like it is in most of Europe).

    That is basicly the best of the two worlds, no forcing of people who don't care, or don't agree with any of the choices, but also no tricks to exclude or disuade certain groups of people (at least not so easily).
  • CCPhil
    I must say I like the idea that you are totally free not to vote but there you should also be intiteld to vote by just beeing a citizen.

    If you are not interested and want to show that, you should go to the vote and vote invalid. That means your vote will show up in the percentage of people who don´t like any of the canidates.
  • Dukester
    Nobody is forced to purchase a drivers license here. What Jzero said is you have to have a license if you want to drive.
  • HarlequiN
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    HarlequiN polycounter lvl 14
    That's true. I neither drive nor have a licence. Get's me some funny looks when I get ID'd and pull out a passport though, and on a couple of occassions I've been refused service because I didn't have "Legal ID". Which just goes to show you how amazingly ill informed some people are.

    Anyway, if I want to drive I need a licence, but I don't have to have one otherwise.
  • Redlemons
    I think Australia's method of voting is good thing. If we don't want to vote then we just tick no boxes, or scribble all over the ballot paper and make it invalid. I used to be a Polling Officer.

    I think mandatory voting is better than optional voting, even though it goes against everything that is free an democratic.


    Fuck I'm drunk frown.gif Second post on these temporary boards and I'm fucking drunk frown.gif
  • ElysiumGX
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    ElysiumGX polycounter lvl 16
    Voting should not be compulsory, for reasons already mentioned. There are enough voting as is that have the "who cares" attitude.

    State ID's, and Passports are cool. So I think a Drivers License should be limited to frequent testing. While sitting at a busy intersection, I'll watch every car go by. Each car, and large SUV, will have only one person, the driver. And every other driver is talking on the cell phone. We should start taking some license away and make our streets a little safer. I witness a wreck everyday on the way to school.
  • pogonip
    Enough people vote in the US to pretty much represent what the over-all vote would be anyways . I mean if 200 million people vote then the next 4 years 265 million people vote is it going to make a big diffrence in the % at the poles ? I doubt it .

    To be honest with you I wish a lot of people could not vote . There are so many ignorent red necks in this country who don't pay any attention to the issues . I mean I don't care about being a Democrat or Republican but if you vote for someone who has corrupt connections to Saudi's a country that supresses woman and supports terrorism. Then the only reason you voted was because your either anti-gay marriage or Anti-abortion in which case your a selfish SOB who IMO should stay at home so you don't miss Jerry Springer.
  • moose
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    moose Polycount Sponsor
    i didnt even need an official NC state id-drivers licence, i just had to show an electric bill/other government issued paper showing the same address that i registered with.

    VOTE OR DIE MOTHERFUCKER VOTE OR DIE!

    everyone should be able to vote, i just with it would be more natural than having to say every 4 years "dude if you dont vote you are a fucking moron," or "vote or die," or the general forcing it down people's throats. It should be something to look forward to, like a drivers licence or being able to drink or buy cigarettes. I guess not everyone thinks the same way though wink.gif
  • Dukester
    I agree with you. It should be something to look forward to, but if somebody has so little interest that they can't be bothered to vote then everyone is better off with them not voting.

    Luckily I did the early voting thing so I was able to still catch "Jerry Springer" on the tube wink.gif
  • frosty
    Voting is something funny, I recall how in the 70's was it, you could die for your country but not vote, then the legal voting age was changed to 18, basically that is why I voted, the candidates were poor, but I voted at least, cos afterall too many good Americans died for us to have that right of freedom. Although I do agree it is a bit hard to vote sometimes in our area, wait times, are you reg. voter or not. Because I own proerty in 3 tax districts I can vote in anyone I want, this is not so for most people who have to beg to get off work or wait till 5:00.
  • AstroZombie
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    AstroZombie polycounter lvl 15
    More states need to adopt how we do it in Oregon - you get your ballot in the mail 2-3 weeks before the election, you fill it out and either mail it back or drop it off at a drop point. We had something like 76% voter turn out I believe.
  • Paul Jaquays
    Forcing you to vote is step just before forcing you to vote the way someone else wants. If someone can not be bothered to be aware of the issues and be motivated to cast a vote because they care, I'd rather they stay home away from a polling place.

    pogonip ... nice of you to let us know you're a bigot. If someone had used a derogatory word to refer to a racial, national, or sexual-orientation group, folks on this board would be all over them. But it's OK to call those people who vote for social convictions that disagree with yours "rednecks." For shame.
  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 15
    [ QUOTE ]
    Forcing you to vote is step just before forcing you to vote the way someone else wants.

    [/ QUOTE ]Its obviously unfeasible to switch to our style ov voting seeing there'd be an uproar over it encroaching on your freedom, a point of view which I don't understand, but won't question having never had the choice before. Our system works well though and always has. Because we've always had to vote (or at least for a long time. I assume its been compulsory since federation, but someone could correct me on that), you have a much lower proportion of people who don't care. People gewnerally stay abreast of the issues to a far greater degree and thus there is more debate amongst the community on whatever important issue crops up, which can only be a good thing. It makes people... some people at least, less inclined to follow the word of the government and media blindly. Unfortunately it doesn't stop us from voting morons into power.
  • DavidCoen
    //ok, this time i will try to write a comment without including flamebait, my bad previous.

    imagin this annalogy. you are on a bus, and someone is elected to drive. I would consider the people on the bus to be responcible in part for things the bus affect. They may not want to be part of the descision, they may exercise free will and not take part of any descision, but the people on the bus are partly responcible.

    the argument about wether people should be force to vote could get confused in this, yes, they have the free choice not to use their vote, but they don't get a choice of taking responciblity for being part of a country. Perhaps forcing people to vote would help them realise their country is part of their responciblity, which is why i support it.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    There's a significant difference between spending half an hour to cast a rubbish vote on a whim, and spending enough time to learn about the various political parties and how they relate to you and your country to cast an educated vote. You may force people to do the former, not the latter.
    Americans are the new YAY. Australians are the new DUH! Hahaha!
  • Michael Knubben
    [ QUOTE ]
    Also its the 1st time ive heard of a place where you MUST vote

    [/ QUOTE ]
    That says more about you, than it does about anything else, though.
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