Russ Campbell‚Äôs Blog: Should Voting Be Mandatory? I Say No
The re¬≠cent pas¬≠sage of the fed¬≠eral Fair Elec¬≠tions Act has prompted de¬≠bate about cit¬≠i¬≠zens right/oblig¬≠a¬≠tion to vote for rep¬≠re¬≠sen¬≠ta¬≠tives at all three lev¬≠els of gov¬≠ern¬≠ment.
In re¬≠cent years, we‚Äôve seen a drop-off in voter turnout at all lev¬≠els. In fed¬≠eral gen¬≠eral elec¬≠tions, for ex¬≠am¬≠ple, the turnout has dropped from an av¬≠er¬≠age of 75 per cent dur¬≠ing the pe¬≠riod af¬≠ter World War II to 61 per cent in the 2011 elec¬≠tion. At the provin¬≠cial level, in On¬≠tario for ex¬≠am¬≠ple, the turnout slipped be¬≠low 50 per cent for the first time in 2011.
Now some, like An¬≠drew Coyne of the Na¬≠tional Post, are ask¬≠ing whether vot¬≠ing should be manda¬≠tory. Coyne writes, ‚ÄúThe ar¬≠gu¬≠ment for com¬≠pul¬≠sory vot¬≠ing is anal¬≠o¬≠gous to that for tax¬≠a¬≠tion.‚ÄĚ An¬≠other com¬≠par¬≠i¬≠son made is to jury duty. Not bad points and, in more than 30 coun¬≠tries around the world, vot¬≠ing is, ap¬≠par¬≠ently, com¬≠pul¬≠sory in some way or other.