Right Thinking From The Left Coast
No legacy is so rich as honesty - William Shakespeare

Vote or Die, Mate

Three aspect of the Aussie election bear mentioning, absent any political analysis.

First, voting is mandatory.  Granted, the fine for not voting is only $20, if I read my websites correctly.  But it is a mandate nonetheless.  I’m not a big supporter of voter mandates.  I fall into the camp that says that voting is a right, not a duty, and you are free not to exercise that right.  Moreover, I’m not sure I want our elections being decided by people who have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the booth.

I also worry that mandatory voting leads to government growth, as it expands the pool of people who need to have their votes bought.  However, it’s not like the lack of a mandate has kept the growth of our government in check.  And pouring millions of people into the ballot box whose main involvement in government is getting taxed could drown out the motivated minorities hat constantly vote for government lucre (unions, big business, etc.)

Second, voting is held on a Saturday to make it easier for people to vote without missing work.  I think this is a great idea (modulo some allowance for orthodox Jews who won’t vote on the Sabbath).  An alternative suggestion I’ve heard is to make voting day a holiday.  That’s less appealing, since you’d have to mandate the holiday to make it work.  I don’t think it would make that much of a difference, given the zillions of absentee ballots and early voting every year.  But it might help.  I’ve missed a vote because of work.

Third, is the Aussie system of preferential voting.  In this system, you vote “1” for your top choice and number your other choices in order of preference.  This is to prevent a party winning with a minority of the vote.  A perfect example would be last year’s NY-23 election, which the Democrats won with 48.3% of the vote.  In a preferential system, conservatives could have put Scozzafava 1, Hoffman 2 or vice-versa, which would potentially have swung the election.  A similar scenario might play out this year in the Florida Senate election.

I like this idea, mainly because it would allow people to vote for third parties (Green or Libertarian) without necessarily throwing the election.  Granted, that would probably mean that Gore would have won in 2000.  But if it means we get some serious libertarian votes—and maybe a libertarian Congressman or three ... well, it still wouldn’t have been worth it to have President Algore.

Anyway, discuss in the comments.  And I’ll post update if Aussiesmurf or my wife identify something stupid in my post.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/20/10 at 04:05 PM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 08/21/10 at 03:41 AM from Australia

I’m not a citizen, but my girlfriend is and she proudly voted for the Australian Sex Party.

Posted by on 08/21/10 at 05:52 AM from Australia

Starting to look like a hung parliament… interesting.

Posted by HARLEY on 08/21/10 at 06:49 AM from United States

First, voting is mandatory.  Granted, the fine for not voting is only $20, if I read my websites correctly.  But it is a mandate nonetheless.  I’m not a big supporter of voter mandates.

Whom ever was responsible for this horrifying scheme, should upon death be banished to their own level in hell.

Could you imagine how this would work out here in the USA if it was implemented in the last election cycle?

Posted by on 08/21/10 at 07:01 AM from Germany

[iCould you imagine how this would work out here in the USA if it was implemented in the last election cycle?]

I CAN imagine. You would have had even more Frankens and Rangels. All delivered up via vans and motorhomes at the polling places. Of course along with some sort of “expense” voucher I am sure. If you think voter fraud is bad now in the largely Democratic urban areas, wait till the “we had to get them to three different polling places. It’s the law” excuses start rolling in. It most assuredly will turn into “who’s willing to bid the most for my vote right now?” Bad, bad idea.

Posted by Aussiesmurf on 08/21/10 at 05:39 PM from Germany

I"m in favour of compulsory voting, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, it is really a hung parliament, with the probability of 5 Independent MPs deciding who can form a government.  1 of the Independents is a Green, who has already stated that he will side with Labour in the even of a hung parliament (if he hadn’t given this undertaking, he never would have been elected).

One of the other Independents is a former Intelligence officer who quit over the maniupulation of evidence for the Iraq war.

The three other Independents are very parochial rural Members who left the rural-based National party for various reasons.

So really, its all up for grabs!

My favourite blogger on the election (completely unaffiliated with me) has been www.grogsgamut.blogspot.com

Posted by HARLEY on 08/21/10 at 10:41 PM from United States

I"m in favour of compulsory voting, but that’s a story for another day.

For the love of god, WHY?

Posted by on 08/21/10 at 11:36 PM from Germany

I"m in favour of compulsory voting, but that’s a story for another day.

For the love of god, WHY?

There are actually pretty good reasons on both sides of the debate.

For: For one thing, it undermines the massive generational gerrymandering that disproportionately directs political time and resources toward the elderly. Compared with Japan, where there is a 30%/70% youth/elderly vote, this really skews the political balance. I mean, if you are buying votes, you direct money at those who vote, and end up with stupid poorly financed policies like...Bush’s Medicare. Dems do it too, of course.

And it also encourages people to become more involved in the political process, and educate themselves a bit more about the candidates.

Against:The big reason against is that encourages stupid people to vote.

And people shouldn’t have to vote (actually in Australia they don’t - they only have to report to the polling station. A friend of mine here (I’m in Sri Lanka) said that he was fined about AUD60.00 last time for missing out.

I have family in Australia, and most of them are saying this is a pretty good result overall. It is beginning to look like the Labor government will squeak in with independent support, but it is still very close, and a hung parliament it will be. Very happy to see the back of Wilson ‘Iron Bar’ Tuckey and Family First Senator Fielding.

Posted by InsipiD on 08/22/10 at 02:13 PM from United States

Vote, bitch, or I’ll F-in kill you.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/22/10 at 04:09 PM from Australia

Good point stogy.  One of the biggest problems in the US system is that the elderly vote like hell, which makes controlling Medicare and Social Security spending difficult at best.

as for the electoral results, I’m reminded o the result they had in the UK.  The public is willing to give the conservatives a bit of a chance, but don’t completely trust them.

<< Back to main