Thursday, May 05, 2005

Free Voting

Rest assured: MacDuff's no-vote decision will be kept in mind the next time we argue about mandatory voting. Low turnout is a problem in a democracy, to be sure, but the way to solve it is not by forcing people to go to the polls lest they be penalized. In an election where there are no viable choices, not voting at all is a vote in itself.


Blogger James MacDuff said...

Point taken, but I am still not ready to reject the concept of mandatory voting as a legitimate possibility that might engage those otherwise tuned out completely from the outset.

I realize that might seem hypocritical to some, given my stance this time around. But consider: if mandatory voting were in place, I would have no problem marching into the ballot box and clearly marking "none of the above" as an informed choice. But to do that this time only lumps me in with the spoilt ballots of those who fail to even complete the process correctly.

It's a difficult issue. I guess I remain swayed by the image of 20,000 Australians lined up in London to vote in their last election, and the fact that everyone of them I met backpacking this summer had formed strong opinions. [admittedly a biased sample, but other Canadian and US youth in the hostel were much more apathetic by comparison].

We need to look at all available options to halt falling participation, not only at the ballot box, but throughout the campaign itself. And sooner rather than later. That belief is what is driving my decision this time.

On that note, still waiting for my counterpart to declare his intentions publicly, although perhaps the company he is keeping on election night has given him away... will he be the only under 30 vote for the Tories in Brixton?

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that someone with so much interest in politics fails to vote in both the Canadian elections and the British ones. The comment made on the eve of the most recent elections of, "I just hope something exciting happens." Not much chance of that if nobody votes...

6:24 AM  

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