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Forced voting: Another reason I can’t live in Australia

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • May 7, 2014


In Australia it’s illegal to not vote during national elections.


I thought democracy is supposed to be about freedom of choice? To me, being forced to vote or go to jail (actually, iI think you pay a fine but I prefer the jail analogy) sounds like a tyranny.


Also, forcing people to do things even if they’re ambivalent creates a false sense of security. I think one of the most important warning signs that your democracy is in trouble is low voter turnout.


The Russians yesterday accidentally posted the turnout figures for the Ukraine/Crimea referendum. There was a 15% turnout. Why is that bad? A low turnout indicates a lack of legitimacy. If it had been illegal to not vote, it would have looked like everyone felt the game was legit.


When the game is rigged, most normal people disengage.


In Australia its hard to know whether people are voting because they’re psyched or because they’d prefer to stay out of jail. There is no option for saying, “Sorry, I’d rather stay at home and watch reruns of The Castle than vote for any of the parties on offer.”


I prefer a bit of messy freedom.

PS: I did vote today

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