How should society respond to mandatory voting?How should society respond to mandatory voting? interpret each source to identify what ideas are presented explain and defend your position on the...

How should society respond to mandatory voting?

How should society respond to mandatory voting?

  • interpret each source to identify what ideas are presented

  • explain and defend your position on the issue

  • support your response by referring to the sources and your understanding of social studies

Expert Answers
creativethinking eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree wholeheartedly with bullgatortail: the right to vote includes the right to NOT vote. The whole idea behind suffrage is the power of one person to have a say in the result of an election. If there's a case where the voter does not support any of the available options, forcing him or her to vote would create an artificial result.

When I envision a mandatory vote, I envision the many governmental situations throughout history where an "election" was held, but everyone knew that the results were rigged. If you're forced by law to vote, chances are you may be experiencing coersion to vote a particular way as well. Or, perhaps, there's only one name on the ballot. If you're being forced to vote, you're supporting that candidate, like it or not. It's simply not democratic.

That being said, I'd like to play Devil's Advocate for just a moment... Many of the non-voters in the United States are not voicing their protest of the available candidates. Rather, they're showing apathy. This isn't really the picture of democracy either. At least a mandatory vote might spur a greater amount of voter awareness about the issues... And it might offer a more genuine representation of the population's views.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Part of the Democratic system is the "right" to vote--when it becomes forced, it is no longer a right. I recently skipped voting in a local election for the first time in about 20 years. The reason? Only two seats were up for election, and I didn't know enough about any of the four candidates to make a decision. Since I consider most politicians at all levels reprehensibly dishonest and power hungry, I choose to exercise my vote very carefully. I often skip voting in some races when I feel the candidates are not worthy, though I always (except for the aforementioned runoff) vote for some. Mandatory voting would eliminate the way I exercise my vote, and it would force people to fulfill a duty that should be a voluntary one.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, I can't refer to any sources because I don't know what sources you're looking at.

I think that society should respond to mandatory voting by repealing the laws that make voting mandatory.  I believe that mandatory voting is a mistake because it forces people to vote even if they do not know enough or care enough to make an informed decision.  There is no benefit gained when large numbers of ignorant or apathetic people vote.  Voting should be left to those who feel that it is important enough to go out and do it on their own.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that opposition to mandatory voting is really the most democratic response.  Mandatory voting would change our entire system from one that boasts of "the freedom to choose" to a system far more susceptible to corruption.  As an informed voter, a huge part of me takes rest (and hopes) in the fact that many who choose not to vote probably shouldn't be voting anyway.  Forcing people to vote will not force them to educate themselves.  In the end, the entire institution of democracy could very possibly become laughable.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm always conflicted between taking measures to increase participation in our democracy, and my not wanting those who are that unmotivated to be making choices.  I do believe that democracy is for those who show up, and those who choose not to be informed or participate are surrendering their choice to those of us who choose otherwise.  Instead, we should place more emphasis on civics education, trying to encourage people to participate of their own free will rather than making it mandatory.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From a practical point of view, how can voting be made mandatory? It isn't practical!  How would local or federal authorities require the citizens to appear somewhere to vote?  If voting could be done by other means (phone, Internet) the process would be more open to voter fraud than it already is.  National processes like the Census are huge undertakings only done every 10 years and could never be done each year in local/state/federal elections.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think society should respond to mandatory voting by opposing it.  Democracy is a choice and if you take that choice away it loses something.  In America, we have so many people to vote for.  It's not just about the presidents.  I know I have personally left parts of a ballot blank because I did not have enough information to make an educated decision.  Voting is a right and should never be a mandate.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that along with the right to vote comes the right to not vote. By forcing people to vote you have taken that choice away from individuals and voting is no longer a right. I agree that it is possibly better that the people that do not have any desire to participate in the voting process be allowed to not participate.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would agree that making voting mandatory is impractical. In addition, it would lead to more dishonest practices in politics. Underhanded politicians would pursue those who were voting merely because they had to, or those who were only voting because they had to would sell their votes to the highest bidder.