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Percentage That Actually Votes

Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 7:07 am
by Arniepie
Being from (one of the few) a country where one is obliged to vote I wonder how many (percentage wise) people that are allowed to vote actually go to vote in country's where there is a right to vote?

Furthermore what are your ideas about right to vote vs obligatory vote.

RE: Percentage That Actually Votes

Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 6:38 am
by cannibalz3
In my humble opinion, a country has no right to force someone to vote. While I don't know the specific pros and cons, it is a right of Americans at the very least to NOT vote if they do not wish to. I'm glad for this. Winston Churchill said something to the effect of 'the best argument against democracy is a conversation with the average voter', and this makes sense to me. Forcing people who do not care to vote is begging for bad leadership. I'd really like to hear your opinion of it actually, as someone in a country where voting is forced.
My political science teacher tells me that roughly 50% of eligible Americans do not vote, and a good portion of political campaigns are devoted to catching the attention of the 'wilfully ignorant majority', as he puts it.

RE: Percentage That Actually Votes

Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 8:29 am
by IFLYMCO
Cannibal is right, here in the US the percentage is right around 50% that vote (or don't vote depending upon your take of it). Personally, I don't think mandatory voting here in the US is realistic. I am all for civic participation and I wish more people here would vote. In nations like Belgium or Australia where voting is mandatory I wonder what the average is for abstention. In other words, how many people go to vote (becuase they legally must) but then simply don't choose a candidate/party etc. As a Political Science major this is very interesting to me, I look forward to the replies.

RE: Percentage That Actually Votes

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 2:27 am
by Arniepie
Forcing people who do not care to vote is begging for bad leadership. I'd really like to hear your opinion of it actually, as someone in a country where voting is forced.

My opinion?
Well I have to say that I don't know how I have to feel about it, sometimes I feel it's better to be obliged to vote and somtimes I feel that it is not right to force people to vote if they are really not interested to do so.

As a plus point I can say this, it definitely makes everybody entitled to speak out or vent their opinion about governement and political issues because one thing I couldn't stand while I worked abroad was hearing somebody whine and complain about taxes, politics ,governement and the likes and afterwards they told me that they didn't vote.
They had the opportunity and when they could they didn't!!!
Also I think that mandarory voting could be considered a right, it is not because it called "mandatory" that it is bad.
It most certainly makes for a full democracy and even if you didn't want to vote you can still vote blank, it would be a very strong message to the politicians if for example 50% of the people would vote blank.

Some things also speak against mandatory voting.
I believe that it is reasonable to expect from people that they make an effort to participate in democracy.
If they really can't be bothered to cast their vote every once in a while than you can ask yourself do they really deserve to be heard?
Also these people don't bother to inform themself about politics and all things concerned once they stand in the voting box they tend to make a very impulsif decision.

In nations like Belgium or Australia where voting is mandatory I wonder what the average is for abstention. In other words, how many people go to vote (because they legally must) but then simply don't choose a candidate/party etc. As a Political Science major this is very interesting to me, I look forward to the replies.

I can only speak for belgium.
Over here on average 5 to 10% of the people cast a blank vote, as a general rule you can say ,the more people decide to vote blank the more unhappy the people are about politics in general.
Now ,when most of the voting goes by computer, you actually have a blank vote possibility on the screen.


PS On a related matter, In voting right-country's it should be forbidden to have elections on a weekday because you should make it as easy as possible for people to go to vote and also you shouldn't have to register to go to vote.
An ID should suffice to cast your vote.

[Edited 2004-10-27 19:33:04]

RE: Percentage That Actually Votes

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 2:33 am
by rjpieces
I think that the percentage would increase in America if we changed the rules a bit. For example, in this election, many states are allowing people to vote weeks in advance with election day being the last day. Many people work and can't make it to vote on election day.

The electoral college system also blows. In some states, for some people, it almost isn't worth it to vote if you know your state is going one way no matter what. For example, a Republican in NY or a Democrat in Texas. However, if states split the electoral votes based on popular vote, it would bring out a lot more people IMO and be more fair overall.

RE: Percentage That Actually Votes

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 2:39 am
by Banco
Whilst voter apathy irritates me, I do believe that people have the right not to give a stuff, and who just can't be bothered to vote.

In the UK, general election turnout varies. The last election was extremely low (from memory something like 60%), largely because the result was a foregone conclusion. Historically, turnout varies between 70% and 80%. This drops to 20-30% for local and European elections.

On a related issue, I'm uneasy about the various ideas to increase voter participation, such as internet voting (in the future), fully postal ballots etc and not just from a security/secrecy point of view. Obviously, some peopel find it difficult to physically cast their vote, and arrangements can and are made for those; but for the general population, if they can't be bothered to get off their arse and wander down to the polling station, why should we make it easier for them? It clearly doesn't matter to them too much and if they care so little they don't deserve to have things made easier for them.

RE: Percentage That Actually Votes

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 9:50 am
by TechRep
Popular Vote in the USA since 1932:

2000 - 51%
1996 - 49%
1992 - 55.2%
1998 - 50.1%
1984- 53.1%
1980 - 52.6%
1976 - 53.6%
1972 - 55.2%
1968 - 60.6%
1964 - 61.7%
1960 - 64%
1956 - 60.6%
1952 - 63.3%
1948 - 62.5%
1944 - 56%
1940 - 62.5%
1936 - 61%
1932 - 56.9%