Sunday, 27 September 2009

Compulsory Voting?

Over on the Guardian they have an article on Labour debating adding compulsory voting to their election reform. David Blunkett* is unsurprisingly a convert and will be debating this at the forthcoming Labour party conference.
We should introduce compulsory voting between now and next May. Forty per cent of the population aren't voting, therefore they are leaving the other 60% to cast their vote for them and we know that those in greatest need are least likely to vote.
I always vote at local, EU and general elections, not just because I'm obliviously interested in politics, but out of a sense of self preservation. I don't agree with the principle of "voting by not voting", but understand that people want to show there disdain or feel they can't vote for any of the parties.

Suggesting that compulsory voting is reform though is a cop out, it doesn't address the issue of why people are staying away from the ballot box. The most common complaints I hear from people is that a) their vote makes no difference, b) it's only a change of name they're all the same and c) they can't endorse what the parties stand for. Yes people are apathetic about politics, compulsory voting won't change that.

Scepticism about this coming from the Labour party does linger over this "reform", given the large amount of Labour voters that have sat on their hands at elections. Most infamously leading to the election of two BNP members. Yet though you could argue that compulsory voting would have stopped that, those voters had every right to boycott the election. When the ballot box is the only thing politicians will listen to, voters have many ways to let it be known when they are unhappy and every right to express that.

I have no support for compulsory voting when rather than passing the buck, reforming parliament and voting are ways to get people to the ballot box. Parliament is out of touch with the people, bring it into line.

* Ask him what civil liberty he wouldn't sacrifice to the god of the state, he'll shrug his shoulders.

No comments:

Post a Comment