Dozens of other countries force their citizens to participate in elections.
Most democratic governments consider participating in national elections a right of citizenship. In some countries, where voting is considered a duty, voting at elections has been made compulsory and has been regulated in the national constitutions and electoral laws.
Some countries go as far as to impose sanctions on non-voters. Compulsory voting is not a new concept. Advocates of compulsory voting argue that decisions made by democratically elected governments are more legitimate when higher proportions of the population participate.
They argue further that voting, voluntarily or otherwise, has an educational effect Mandatory voting the citizens.
Political parties can derive financial benefits from compulsory voting, since they do not have to spend resources convincing the electorate that it should in general turn out to Mandatory voting. The leading argument against compulsory voting is that it is not consistent with the freedom associated with democracy.
It may discourage the political education of the electorate because people forced to participate will react against the perceived source of oppression. Is a government really more legitimate if the high voter turnout is against the will of the voters?
Many countries with limited financial capacity may not be able to justify the expenditures of maintaining and enforcing compulsory voting laws. It has been proved that forcing the population to vote results in an increased number of invalid and blank votes compared to countries that have no compulsory voting laws.
Another consequence of mandatory voting is the possible high number of "random votes". Voters who are voting against their free will may check off a candidate at random, particularly the top candidate on the ballot. The voter does not care whom they vote for as long as the government is satisfied that they fulfilled their civic duty.
What effect does this immeasurable category of random votes have on the legitimacy of the democratically elected government? A figure depicting the exact number of countries that practice compulsory voting is quite arbitrary.
The simple presence or absence of mandatory voting laws in a constitution is far too simplistic. It is more constructive to analyse compulsory voting as a spectrum ranging from a symbolic, but basically impotent, law to a government which systematic follow-up of each non-voting citizen and implement sanctions against them.
This spectrum implies that some countries formally have compulsory voting laws but do not, and have no intention to, enforce them. There are a variety of possible reasons for this. Not all laws are created to be enforced. Mandatory voting laws that do not include sanctions may fall into this category.
Although a government may not enforce mandatory voting laws or even have formal sanctions in law for failing to vote, the law may have some effect upon the citizens. However, these regions tend to have a higher turnout average than the national average.
Other possible reasons for not enforcing the laws could be complexity and resources required for enforcement.
Countries with limited budgets may not place the enforcement of mandatory voting laws as a high priority still they hope that the presence of the law will encourage the citizens to participate.
Can a country be considered to practice compulsory voting if the mandatory voting laws are ignored and irrelevant to the voting habits of the electorate?
Is a country practicing compulsory voting if there are no penalties for not voting? What if there are penalties for failing to vote but they are never or are scarcely enforced?
Or if the penalty is negligible? Many countries offer loopholes, intentionally and otherwise, which allow non-voters to go unpunished.
For example, in many countries it is required to vote only if you are a registered voter, but it is not compulsory to register. People might then have incentives not to register.
The diverse forms compulsory voting has taken in different countries refocuses the perception of it away from an either present or absent practice of countries to a study of the degree and manner in which the government forces its citizens to participate.
Which countries practice compulsory voting? The first column lists the name of the country, the second column the type of sanctions that the relevant country imposes against non-voters and the third column contains the information on to what extent the compulsory voting laws are enforced in practice.Most academic research, however, has found that mandatory voting does not move the average voter to the left, according to Jason Brennan, a professor at Georgetown University and co-author of.
Compulsory voting is an effect of laws which require eligible citizens to register and vote in elections, and may impose penalties on those who fail to do so. As of August , 22 countries provide for compulsory voting, and 11 democracies — about 5% of all United Nations members — enforce it.
At least two dozen countries have some form of compulsory voting, including Belgium, Brazil and Argentina. In Belgium, after racking up penalties, chronic vote-avoiders risk losing the ability to vote for 10 years.
In the US, compulsory voting has started to enter the mainstream conversation. Jan 19, · But all that misses the point because it overlooks that compulsory voting changes more than the number of voters: It changes who runs for office and the policy proposals they support.
In a compulsory election, it does not pay to energize your base to the exclusion of all other voters. Despite all of the U.S. media's fanfare about Tuesday’s midterm elections, most eligible voters likely will duck their civic duties on Election Day.
Historically, nearly one-third fewer U.S.