Voting – Its not that hard!!

I am sitting here watching the results come in for the US Presidential Election and reading news reports from my local paper at the same time. When reading these articles, I find it incredible that the US manages to elect anyone at all to be honest. Have a read of this article below and then try and avoid shaking your head.×09.html

Its not that hard people.

I am not naive enough to think that Australia is perfect, far from it in fact and our political discourse over the last 10 years has been degenerating into a Greek Tragi-comedy. But we do manage elections pretty well. As well as giving the world the Australian Ballot, we think that making the people who administer the election and count the votes should be impartial.
The Australian Electoral Commission is a government funded organisation that pretty much runs elections. The state premiers (governors in US english) have no power to change electoral boundaries or change the electoral roll.
Voting is also technically compulsory. I know this compulsion to vote goes against everything that America stands for but I think its mature of a country to say to its people, “hey, this election is going to effect you whether you like it or not, so be responsible, get informed and exercise your RESPONSIBILITY as a member of this community.” If you don’t want to be forced to do anything by government, that’s OK. Get your name marked off, trundle your lazy, misguided ass over to the electoral booth and write “you’re all a bunch of crooks” on the ballot and walk out very proud of yourself. And then don’t complain for the next parliamentary term.
Another advantage of compulsory voting is that there is little need to appear to your base as they are going to vote anyway. You don’t need to move to the extreme left or right to pander to them and encourage them to vote. You can concentrate your campaigning on the centre and the issues that appeal to them such as costs of living, economics and how we live our lives rather than abortion, guns and taxes. The majority centre runs the direction of commentary rather than the lunatic fringe of both sides.

Its looking like an Obama win at this stage as I write this but to be honest, the country is the bigger loser.


EDIT: Having just read that last sentence, it sounds like I think that Americans are losers. Far from it. What I mean is that with a disfunctional electoral system, we do not get the quality of leadership that the world so desperately needs. I hope that sounds better than what I originally wrote. A big shout out to my dear American friends and to all my new followers as well!!


2 thoughts on “Voting – Its not that hard!!

  1. That is interesting, to make voting compulsory. In a way, I think it’s a good idea because the people who are motivated to vote generally represent a certain type of group and that type of group might be more inclined to vote for certain politicians. Hopefully making it compulsory would also mean that everyone who votes would also try to educate themselves more on the issues, so that they vote based on something logical, you know what I mean? Like if people are naturally not motivated to vote, but then there’s a law saying they have to, those people might go vote but perhaps with very little understanding of who they’re voting for and that party’s issues. Hm, not sure if any of that made sense =P

  2. Hey Cafe,
    Thanks for your comments. Yes, I agree that making it compulsory to vote tends to encourage at least some effort to get educated about the issues but the depth of that education is still questionable, whichever side the voter is voting for. Some people still just listen to what they want to hear rather than questioning both sides of the story. I think the best side effect of compulsory voting is that it relieves the parties from needing to appeal to their bases and therefore keeps the arguments to the centre where civility lies.

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