Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Compulsory Voting Is A Terrible Idea

With all the excitement surrounding the EU referendum recently, some people have been using it as a platform to campaign for compulsory voting in the UK in the hope that it will force encourage people into political interest.

It should be far more obvious than it apparently is, but compulsory voting is a foolish idea, not to mention repressive. Even if we ignore the latter part, that forcing people to vote is a horrid infringement of personal liberty, compelling people to vote that otherwise have complete apathy towards politics is going to have the effect of lowering the quality of the voter pool by adding more uninformed people into the mix*.

To prove the point, the places in which compulsory voting has been introduced has raised voting turnout by around 20 percentage points, but it has also raised left wing votes by roughly the same amount.

Compulsory voting would also lower the quality of politicians too, as an increasingly uninformed forced electorate would be more likely to vote for incompetent politicians and not understand the full extent of their ineptness.

Forced voters are also more likely to be the kind of people to vote in people who seduce them with headline-grabbing inflammatory rhetoric, or deliberately vote for an extreme person in protest at being made to go into the polling booth.

The sooner people grow out of this crazy idea of forcing people to vote, the better.

* I'm all for trying to get more people interested in politics - interested enough so that they make informed decisions, but that is something altogether different from forcing uninformed citizens to vote for something or someone they have no interest in or no clue about.