Richard @ Philosophy, et cetera proposes NZ should have compulsory voting. His reasons are well stated in the post.
I am against compulsory voting. If you make something compulsory it means you fine or sanction people who don’t do it. I don’t think fining hundreds of thousands of NZers for not voting is a good idea. Likewise I don’t regard fining adults who don’t wear a seat-belt as a good thing. I would however support insurance companies having exclusions for injuries for people who don’t wear one and get injured in a crash,
Anyway back to compulsory voting. For a start it doesn’t always get huge turnouts. In Greece in 1996 turnout was only 76%. Now they only make it compulsory for those under 70, but still a low turn-out. It also highlights the issue of age – do we really want to fine the 88 year old who decides not to vote because it is freezing cold outside, and they don’t have a car? Will that reason be accepted as why not to vote?
Even in Australia where federal election turnout is over 90% due to compulsory voting, the state election turnouts can be as low as 17%, even though they are also compulsory!
Again in Australia, 95% of those who don’t vote offer an excuse for not voting and are not fined. Do we really want an army of bureaucrats deciding whether or not an excuse is good enough, so someone isn’t fined for not voting?
Finally there is a much more fun way to encourage people to vote 🙂