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USA Needs Mandatory Voting like Australia already has.....

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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:06 PM
Original message
USA Needs Mandatory Voting like Australia already has.....
this could have made the difference in this 2004 election. The "turnout" is said to be 60% of eligible voters, with a 40% non-voting or whose votes weren't counted.

What that means is if Bush 'won' with 51% of the vote to Kerry's 49%, if you factored in the total number of eligible voters-- a 100% vote-- Kerry 29%, Bush 30%, 40% didn't vote-- those missing 40% would have made all the difference.

I heard on Tim Russert's show the other day comedian George Carlin state that he didn't bother to vote...guys like him could have made the difference for Kerry. And should have.
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Sporadicus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
1. Oz Actually Enforces Fines for Non-Voters
I agree in principle with making voting mandatory, but I don't know whether it would succeed in the US. I imagine repugs would fight such a law tooth & nail; they thrive in a low-turnout environment.
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. Are you so ready to repeal the 1st amendment?
Not showing up at the polls is also a political statement. Maybe of apathy. Maybe of disgust at the process. Nonetheless, I trust the ACLU would immediately challenge any law that mandated voting.

BTW, the 1st amendment why hate speech is not per se a crime in the US, unlike Canada and some European nations.

Speaking as a civil libertarian, this is one of the things I most cherish about this nation. When I hear the right wanting to disincorporate the 1st amendment, my skin crawls.
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RoeBear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I agree
forced voting sucks
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American Tragedy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Agreed.
And as a hardcore civil libertarian myself, I am glad, because there is no doubt in my mind that the courts and the establishment would selectively define hate speech. In any case, it's not the government's place to intervene in an expression of ideas, even if they are repugnant. Independent citizens who have the truth on their side should directly address the ideas and rhetoric, rather than just trying to shut people up.
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Liberal Veteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. On the flip side, it's amazing that you can libel an individual...
....but not an entire race/gender/religion/sexual orientation.

For example: I can sue someone for stating in print that I have 1000's of sexual contacts per year.

But Pat Robertson can say "the average homosexual has thousands of contact per year".

Both are defamation of character, but only one has any legal recourse.

I think that makes little logical sense.
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. The "average homosexual" is an abstraction. Traditionally, abstractions...
Have no standing in courts of law. :)
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Liberal Veteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. How about allowing people to check "no vote"
At the polls?

Wouldn't that satisfy the needs of the political statement (possibly even better than being assumed to be apathetic)?
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #2
13. So pay a small fine and make a statement that way. BTW
John Locke's political philosophy legitimizes coup d'etats of the JFK variety if you get my meaning (can't use the A word with all this escheloning etc going on) and even George Carlin spoke about this in his act, which I thought was going to get him arrested. That's a Political Statement of the extreme variety.

BTW, ACLU's challenge of a proposed law like this--Mandatory Voting-- would probably assure its passage ! Thanks.
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #2
34. Corporate ownership of media is well on the way to making speech
like the sound of a tree falling in the forest, without anyone to hear it WHO CARES.
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buddysmellgood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 07:56 PM
Response to Reply #2
38. Democracy requires an informed public. Forcing people to vote does
not mean they will go to the trouble to be informed. Many Republican who did vote thought we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Forcing people to the polls will just result in identifying more voters who can't tie their own shoes. They are free to vote, but no one should force them to vote.
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Demit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:22 PM
Response to Original message
6. I have thought that for a long time. Require people to do their duty as
citizens. As for idiots like George Carlin, who at one time I thought was a very bright guy, they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. Not voting as a "statement" is a feeble argument, a tree falling that no one hears.
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Lurker321 Donating Member (132 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Voting is not a "duty". Voting is a "right".
Once you define it as a "duty" and force people to do it, it ceases being a "right".

Everyone has a right to free speech, but when you are forcing someone to speak, even if you don't tell them what to say, that right disappears. Everyone has the right to free movement, but when you force people to relocate, even if you don't specify where they have to go, that right is violated. Same with voting. What you propose will take away my right to vote, and I will not stand for it.

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
-- C.S. Lewis
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. Money is considered 'free speech' and therefore HUGE $$$
contributions to political candidates is an expression of political speech. They get to shout you down with their big bucks and create a climate of apathy where 40% don't even bother ... why, heck we're just like the PRI in Mexico or some other one-party state, so what does it matter anyway ?

Once again, it doesn't seem to have hurt Australians in the least. Not having mandatory voting is like not getting your civics credit taken care of for citizenship or high school graduation for that matter. Just mandatory for Presidential Elections would be my caveat, let the other ones go like we already do.

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Flying Dream Blues Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:10 AM
Response to Reply #8
29. Exactly. Well said. n/t
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Throd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
10. No! Nyet! Nein!
I don't see any inherent wisdom in forcing somebody who doesn't give a rat's ass about politics 364 days a year into the voting booth on one Tuesday in November. If they don't know what the candidates stand for, on what basis will they make their decisions?
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
11. I don't think so. (nt)
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KTM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:32 PM
Response to Original message
12. I support it
Along with a biometric voter identification card. Flame away.
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. You can always write in a candidate too. I remember during the
60's an acquaintance of my brother wrote in Mario Savio.
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KingoftheJungle Donating Member (355 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
16. Peru fines you $50 US for not voting. Sounds reasonable to me
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 08:48 PM by KingoftheJungle
Actually, I think it is more important to fine the shit out of POLITICIANS who don't vote. I find it completely unreasonable that we even allow congressmen and senators to not vote on bills, isn't that pretty much what they are THERE for?
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LSdemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:47 PM
Response to Original message
17. Why do people assume that current non-voters would vote Democratic?
These are people that care so LITTLE about their government that they don't bother to vote.
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Columbia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
18. Worst idea EVER
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 06:36 PM
Response to Reply #18
35. ....no, worst idea ever is not voting for Kerry Nov 2nd Or even worse
intentionally voting for Bush. Or even worse, not voting at all in this last election and just letting Bush cakewalk in...
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theresistance Donating Member (595 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
19. Bit surprised at the negativity...
The Australian voting system is very fair and open since everyone votes, all the votes are counted and its all on paper ballot. No computers (yet) to rig or stupid ballots to misinterpret...I believe the aussie system should be given more consideration in the US.
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Lurker321 Donating Member (132 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. As I explained in my post above,
Australians decided to give up their right to vote, and made vote an obligation instead, for the sake of efficiency.

There are a lot of rights that, if given up, will make things more efficient. Free speech for example. It would make things so much more efficient if everyone speaks with one voice that is dictated from above. Fifth amendment - it would make trials much more efficient if people cannot "plead the fifth". I don't want to give those rights up for the sake of efficiency. And I don't want to give up the right to vote, either.
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KTM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. As dictated from above ?
AUS requires only that you come to the polling place and cast a ballot - there is no requirement for WHOM you vote for, nor are you prohibited from casting a blank ballot...
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Lurker321 Donating Member (132 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:05 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. That does not change the fact that
once you make it an obligation, it is not a right anymore. So you lose your right to vote.
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Clarkie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:56 PM
Response to Original message
22. That is a terrible idea...if you don't care enough to vote, please don't!
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LittleClarkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:42 AM
Response to Original message
24. But Oz elected a conservative too
So would it have really helped?
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NuttyFluffers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:47 AM
Response to Original message
25. i think it's a great idea.
and considering the way things are going, wouldn't bother me a bit.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:51 AM
Response to Original message
26. Yeah, that's what we need. Even more uneducated voters for Bush
Come on. Who do you think they are going to vote for if they are forced to vote. Us? Or a bunch of sleazy rightwing assholes telling them lies they want to hear while screaming libertatian bullshit?
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The Flaming Red Head Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 06:28 AM
Response to Original message
27. Mandatory anything is another excuse to put people in jail.
You can do time for not paying traffic fines. We don't need anymore reasons to lock people up.
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:04 AM
Response to Original message
28. Does anyone have some links to support that?
I'm very interested in the manditory voting laws of some countries.

If anyone has some links, I would appreciate it.

Thanks.


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Imajika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:28 AM
Response to Original message
30. Hasn't Australia elected rightwinger John Howard...
...3 times in a row?

Aren't the conservatives in ascendency in Australia?

How does mandatory voting help us? Higher turnout was supposed be a boon for Democrats, but the 2004 election demonstrated that this is just not necessarily true.

Voting is a right. Not voting can be a political statement. The government should not be in the business of forcing people to vote.

Imajika

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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #30
36. Right now the statement you make by not voting is Rightwing
candidates have an easier time getting elected ... and the Greeks used to call an Idiot someone who didn't vote !
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tngledwebb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
31. No, first we need fair and honest elections.
If we don't count all the votes, 1O0% turnout don't mean diddly.

But this idea might ensure a more accurate count, by keeping everyone consciously involved in the process, and the outcome.
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meatsack Donating Member (19 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:51 AM
Response to Original message
32. You don't need mandatory voting
I'm a dual citizen (US/Aust.) living in Australia. You don't need mandatory voting in the US, but I urge you to look at some of the other election ideas we have implemented in Australia.

First off, we have a national, non-partisan Election Commission. It's website is here: http://www.aec.gov.au /
We have the same rules all across the country when it comes to voting, so we don't have problems with your garden variety Blackwell's and Harris'.
I understand that for some reason, you guys really value state rights, and while I may have a US passport, I've spent less than a year on US soil, so I never really understood the problem of handing over some state rights to a federal agency.

So I do understand if this is something a lot of you would disagree with and admit my ignorance in this field. What I should add though, is that out of the 8 or so elections I've voted in I've never had to wait in line. It's ridiculous that with our near 100% turnout I've never had to wait in line to vote(I live in the inner suburbs). Yet with 60% turnout in the US, I heard many stories of 6 Hour+ lines.

Secondly we have what we call preferential voting, but what I believe you guys know as 'instant run off' voting. Basically it lessens the effect of 'spoilers'. It doesn't remove them entirely, but it certainly helps. For a better explanation check out this site: http://www.fairvote.org/irv / It wouldn't have helped you this election, but might as well get it set up before you need it.

To address a couple of queries that have popped up, I can confirm that it is indeed mandatory to vote. The enforcement however, is a little lax as it's the winning party that decides whether to enforce the fines or not, and they wisely rarely choose to fine voters as that would increase the likely hood of that person voting in the next election and them voting against you, purely because you fined them.

Also someone mentioned that we did indeed re-elect our conservative prime minister. Though there is a big difference between Howard and Bush. Our economy has been booming under Howard (the conservative), interest rates are the lowest they've been in decades. We've had 0 deaths in our Iraq deployment so far (knock on wood), so that wasn't an issue in our election. Afghanistan, I can't remember, I don't think we lost a soldier, but we did lose a private contractor if my memory serves. The rest of our deployments have been successful peace keeping missions to various surrounding Island nations. One of the most successful was as the leaders of INTERFET which successfully saw the formation of East Timor as an independent country.

After the Asian tsunami our 'conservative' government gave one of the biggest donations, even more impressive when you consider our small population. We've been working closely with Indonesia, the worlds largest Muslim nation to help them fight terrorism. While the Australian-Indonesian relationship still couldn't be described as 'friendly', it's certainly warmer than the US has with the Middle East. Though to re-emphasize a point I made earlier, our election was all about the economy, which had been performing well under the current government. Don't let any right-wingers try to spin it as Australian support for the war in Iraq. As proof I offer this poll:
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/...
Only 32% of Australians now supported going to the war.


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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:57 AM
Response to Original message
33. And that's been working really well for the Australians?
I'd rather have a group of people who care decide than force a lot of people who don't to vote for whomever they saw in the last commercial before they walked into the voting booth.

I'd rather try to get more people to care than force a lot of people to vote even if they don't care.
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #33
37. Origin of Idiot is the greek for someone who didn't vote !
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 06:41 PM by EVDebs
http://www.heir.org/opidiot.htm

So, it looks like our country is now FULL of idiots ! At least 40% now. And the rightwingnuts love us for it !
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