Given The Increasing Decline In Turnout For Elections,

1477 WordsMar 10, 20176 Pages
Given the increasing decline in turnout for elections, there is much debate over whether a compulsory system of voting should be introduced in the UK and other advanced democracies. Proponents of compulsory voting would argue that voting is a civic duty, similar to paying tax or serving on a jury. They would also contend that it would lead to increased political participation and engagement and that parliament would become more truly representative and considerate of the whole electorate. Opponents, on the other hand, would mainly argue that making voting compulsory would be an infringement on the rights of the individual, and would contravene their right to be free to abstain should they wish to do so. They would also assert that…show more content…
Former Secretary of State for Transport Geoff Hoon finds the declining turnout of younger voters alarming, saying in an interview with the guardian that: ‘My fear is that as the older, more regular voters die, we will be left with a significant number of people for whom voting is neither a habit, nor a duty’ (Wintour, 2005). Hoon is a big supporter of compulsory voting and proposes either a fine or a tax discount in order to incentivise people to turn out to the polls (Wintour, 2005). The proposal of a tax discount is more positive measure and would probably make people happier and more enthusiastic to vote, as opposed to a fine that may make people feel as though they are being unfairly coerced to vote. This proposal could have the effect of boosting people’s willingness to participate, increasing their desire to become more informed and providing a stop to the dwindling election turnouts of recent years. A low and ever decreasing election turnout is seen as an alarming thing because it calls into question the legitimacy of an elected government and also the effectiveness of the country’s electoral system. It also leads to disproportionate and overrepresentation of certain voter demographics. However, with compulsory voting, the government must consider the total electorate when making and implementing their policies in order to get elected. This would bring
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