Letters to Editor

Archived copy

Margie Bass

77 Keymer Street

Belmont WA 6104


24 September 2005


Dear Editor

You have to wonder about the logic of some who believe that compulsory voting lies in true democracy

The razzmatazz of the US elections is often used to justify compulsory voting, as if every nation that doesn't have compulsory voting have run their elections in the same way, when nothing could be further from the truth. In fact those countries with voluntary voting, which is almost all of them, including the founders of democracy, have well ordered representative elections and stable regimes.

Note how many politicians talks about "one's social obligation" (obligation being something that people choose to do), but then go on to say "the compulsion gives greater validity to the democratic process". Real old-fashioned proletariat socialism if ever there was.

A second criticism of voluntary enrolment and voting is, of course, that it tends to distort the outcome by not expressing the will of the adult community" Just what kind of will is it that has to be forced. Of course we know that forcing people to vote who - never read a newspaper, never listen to the news on radio, or on TV, have no interest in current affairs, or politics in general - doesn't distort the outcomes of elections does it?

The irony is that because attendance at polling station is compulsory then no-one has to bother to take the trouble to inform such people about the need to vote and the major parties still get their $2.20 per vote anyway.

It seems we have a long way to go when political leaders cannot differentiate between forcing people to put marks on bits of paper and the freedom of choice expressed by really free people.

Yours truly,

Margie Bass