It is good for citizens to know compulsory voting pros and cons so that they can decide accordingly. There are some countries where voting is mandatory, while in others, it is optional. There are both pros and cons of the different systems. It is good for lawmakers to be fully informed of each system’s benefits and drawbacks before they can formulate laws. Some people argue it is necessary to make voting compulsory, while others would like it to remain optional. There are several reasons people prefer voting to be made compulsory, while others would like it to remain optional. Here we are going to explore the benefits of mandatory voting as well as the disadvantages.
Compulsory voting pros and cons you should know
Pros of Compulsory Voting
1. Encourages voter education
All sections of the population will be educated about policies that different candidates have. It is possible because the several candidates available will be interested in making all people know about what they plan to do when in power. It is unlike a case where the candidates will know certain sections of society are not interested in voting; they will direct their campaigns to people they know will likely vote. When voters are not educated, there are high chances they will make bad decisions. The process of making voting compulsory will reduce discrimination when it comes to voter education. All candidates will be interested in reaching the entire population. The voters will be in a better position of making the right decision if they are fully prepared.
2. Reduces money spent on campaigns
Candidates spend a lot of money trying to make people come out to vote. The funds can be saved and directed somewhere else if voting is made compulsory. Campaign teams would have to spend less on making people know more about their policies rather than just attracting them to vote. There are some areas where campaigns are costly due to the strategies employed to try and make people come out to vote. For example, candidates have to invest huge amounts in advertisements. It would be a different case if voting were made compulsory. In cases where voting is made compulsory, the voters will easily vote, making it easy to save on the campaign costs.
3. Broadens the campaigns
Some candidates come up with strategies where they target people who are likely to come out and vote. Their policies end up being known by people who are likely to vote. The policies they formulate end up affecting the whole population. In cases where voting is made compulsory, the candidates will be interested in educating the whole public about their policies. Citizens will have the freedom to choose candidates who have better policies that can work towards helping them. People will be free to go out and attend rallies where they will be informed of policies advocated by different candidates if they know they have a decision they should make. It is a simple step that will make voting interesting to all people.
4. Compulsory Voting improves voter turnout
When people are made to vote mandatory, they will come out in large numbers and vote. It is good to try and improve voter turnout. When many people turn out to vote, they express their free will. The leaders they choose are their free representation. There are several strategies that campaign teams employ as a way of trying to make many people come out to vote.
In most cases, the campaign teams do not bear fruits because, in most cases, people do not vote. Coming up with a policy where people have to vote compulsory makes many people turn out. People will be afraid of fines if they fail to turn out and vote. They will then proceed to vote. If you would like to get as many voters as possible to vote in a given election, you need to ensure you make voting compulsory and available to all eligible candidates. It will lead to more people turning out to vote.
5. Improves representation of citizens
When people particulate in choosing leaders, they choose their free representation. It is good for all citizens to get involved in choosing their leaders. It will represent their free will. There will be a high voter turnout if the citizens are made to vote mandatory. All citizens should avoid particulate in choosing people who will be involved in making policies and laws that govern their lives. There is some citizen who does not have an interest in the voting process. It is easy to get those citizens on board to get the citizens to vote. The whole election process aims at making citizens get their representatives. It is possible to get the representatives if you can engage in voting. Several minor reasons can hinder people from voting. They will avoid such excuses and proceed to vote if you can take the necessary steps and make them vote compulsory.
6. Promotes political stability
People will be okay to have leaders in power so long as they were involved in voting them into power. There are some religions where people feel like they have bad leaders whom they did not choose. It is a feeling that brings about political instability. It is possible to get rid of such notions if you can make all citizens vote. Political stability will lead to a prosperous nation. Citizens will be free to invest. There are high chances foreign investors will be free to invest in a country if political stability exists. It is good to make the voting process as fair as possible. The best way to make the process appear free and fair is to give each citizen a chance to vote. The best way to go about it involves making the process of choosing leaders compulsory to all. People will not have reasons to complain if they know they had the chance to vote, and they chose leaders who are good or bad. They will have to wait for the election cycle to be over, after which they will have another chance to vote in or out the alders they consider are not performing well. Making voting compulsory to all will lead to great political stability.
7. Compulsory Voting makes leaders legitimate
Some people argue leaders are not legitimate because they did not participate in the process of choosing them. Making voting compulsory will make the leaders feel legitimate, and they have the full backing of the citizens. In a case where voting is made compulsory, all votes will be accounted for. Leaders with many votes will feel they are a true representation of people. Leaders are supposed to engage in policy formulation. The policies they will make will affect people in their area of representation. The leaders will feel they have the citizens’ full mandate to make certain decisions if all choose them. People will feel the majority of the votes legitimately elected the leaders they have. It is unlike a case where things can go wrong, and some citizens feel they were not involved.
8. Makes election serious
Some people aerie not interested in voting. It makes the whole process of voting less serious. Choosing a political leader is very necessary. Some people take the process of voting casually because they know even if they fail to vote, there are no consequences. They do not understand that failure to vote will make few people make decisions on their behalf. Making voting mandatory will play a great role in making as many people as possible to vote. When many people come out to vote, there are high chances people will take the voting process seriously if the whole thing is made compulsory. Several steps should be taken before voting can be made compulsory. For example, citizens should be educated, after which laws will be formulated. The laws will spell out punishment, which will make people prefer voting.
Cons of Compulsory Voting
There are several pros of compulsory voting. Apart from having several pros of compulsory voting, there are also several cons. It is good to consider both sides before you can opt for a given policy. The following are some of the drawbacks of making the process of voting compulsory.
1. Compulsory Voting violates freedom of choice
People have the choice to decide and vote or not to vote. When you make voting compulsory, people are not left to vote or not vote. It is an infringement on people’s rights. To make it easy for people to enjoy their freedom easily, voting should be left to be optional. When people are made to make their own decisions, they will be better positioned to make the right choices as they vote. It is unlike a case where a person will be made to vote compulsory. He or she will end up choosing a leader whom he or she does not know the policies. It will lead to people voting for their sake to avoid the penalties that come with it. People in a democratic country should be left to make their own choices without any form of coercion. It is possible to make people turn out in large numbers and vote if enough voter education can be carried out.
2. Affects the right to express religion
There are some religions where people are discouraged from participating in the voting process. In such a case, it will be infringing on people’s right to religion if you can make them vote compulsory. People should be left to choose their religion and practice it freely. It will be hard to allow some part of the society to vote compulsory while others are discouraged due to religion. It would work well if voters were left to make their own decisions. Several steps can be followed to make many people vote. For example, you need to try and allow people to practice their religion freely. There will be high chances of voter apathy and even high policy defiance rates if people are forced to do things they consider against their faith. Try to make policies that will accommodate people from all religions. Having a law that forces people to participate in voting will lead to discrimination, where some people will feel like they have been denied the chance to participate in their religion of choice.
3. It is wrong to punish those who do not vote
Some people, out of the free will, may not like to queue and vote. It will be wrong to push such people because they have not wronged anybody or violated any office against the state, but they have decided to express their free will. People can fail to show up in polling stations due to several reasons. For example, some people may be sick, and they fail to turn up and vote. It is necessary to ensure you formulate an electoral law that will not appear discriminatory. For example, during the voting day, some people may be held in hospitals or even fail to arrive at polling stations in good time. To accommodate them, the electoral body may have to organize voting to be cared for in several days. It will even lead to more issues concerning the integrity of the education system. It is good to make voting optional so that people with different interests can be accommodated in the process.
4. Encourages informal votes
When people are forced to vote, they will end up voting for the sake of meeting the law requirements. They will not take time to check on the policies that different candidates front. Some voters can show up in polling stations and mark ballot papers randomly to meet the compulsory voting threshold. It will lead to a waste of resources and abuse of the whole process. People who show up in poling stains should be fully informed and ready to make the right decisions. It is necessary to make voting optional so that people can be free to make the right decisions in each step they take. Countries where voting is optional lead to informed decisions during the voting process. People who are passionate about voting show up. There is a specific way a ballot paper should be marked to make it count. When people are forced to participate in the voting process, they will end up marking the papers in a way that will lead to spoilage of votes. It is unlike a case where the citizens are provided with the right education to make the right voting decision.
5. Leads to random choices of candidates
There are cases where people will show up in polling stations and randomly pick up candidates to meet the law requirements. It will interfere with the main aim of having elections because it aims at making people choose the right candidate. The voting process will be affected if you allow people to vote who do not have an interest in avoiding cases where people will make random choices to pass the threshold that requires them to vote. It is possible to avoid the random votes if you can make voting optional so that only people interested in getting the right candidate can show up. Few people should vote, but they should make the right decisions. Voting is all about making the right decisions. People will easily make the right decisions if they are allowed to vote freely.
6. Increases law enforcement cost
When voting is made compulsory, there will be a need to enforce the law. Some people will choose not to vote, and they will have violated the law. As a way of making them follow the law, they will be arrested and prosecuted. The cost of prosecuting those who do not vote can be very high. For example, millions of people may fail to show up and vote. If many people fail to show up and vote, then there are high chances they will be arrested and punished. The cost can be very high. It is good to let people make their own decisions without any form of intimidation or coercion.
The above are the compulsory voting pros and cons. Before you can decide to advocate for mandatory voting or against, it is good to check on each step’s pros and cons before you can make a decision. People have their own reasons for advocating for and against voting. For instance, those who argue for compulsory voting argue it will lead to more voter turnout. On the other hand, those against making voting compulsory argue it will lead to random votes. There is no need to have several voters that were cast randomly without the voters making informed decisions.