Compulsory voting has become a topic for heated discussion recently. While some argue every person must vote, others insist on making the process voluntary. On the one hand, elections cannot be completely fair if some groups are excluded from the process. On the other hand, forcing people to participate will result in casting their votes for no matter which candidate, usually leading to donkey (empty) votes. Obviously, both opponents and proponents of compulsory voting have the plausible argument.
Why Do Some Support Compulsory Voting?
First of all, compulsory voting is beneficial for the government. The process ensures a bigger voter turnout which means the government has a considerable number of votes to process. When all legal individuals cast their votes, the figures become bigger, thus the possibility of error is lower. Therefore, one knows exactly how much support each political force has received at the election.
Many people also believe that compulsory voting makes the election a more fair process since every individual makes their own choice. The proponents also argue that those people who do not participate negatively affect the election because their participation could have decided the outcome and another candidate would be a winner. Nevertheless, the opponents of compulsory voting claim that this is the very reason why voting must stay voluntary.
The Lifeboat Theory
According to the theory, if there are 11 people in a boat with no provision and navigation, they only have one attempt to make it to dry land. Although everyone in the boat has their own view on the right direction, no one is certain their theory is 100% correct. Because they are limited in options and the situation is extremely challenging, the people decide they should vote for the theory. However, only one of them votes because this is the only person who thinks the theory will save their lives. The rest of the occupants of the boat are not confident about their choices. They think that they shouldn’t vote if they are not 100% sure they are right.
Provided that these people were forced to vote for the theories they prefer, their votes would be empty. Since they were not able to make the decision, they let the voter who was confident in his/her theory make a choice. If they were forced to vote, the people in the lifeboat could have made a snap decision which would jeopardize their lives. Just like the people in a lifeboat, some individuals prefer not to vote because they are not absolutely sure about their choice. Instead, they let the people have made a firm decision define which party on a ballot wins.
If people cannot decide which party to choose or simply do not want to support any of them, they shouldn’t be forced to vote because their votes still can affect the outcome. Therefore, only those who make an informed decision and strongly support their candidates should record their votes.
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