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TOPIC ......................................................................................................................................................... 2
PART I: TOPIC OVERVIEW ......................................................................................................................... 3
PART II: BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................................................ 6
PART III: DEFINITIONS ............................................................................................................................ 10
PART IV: AFFIRMATIVE ........................................................................................................................... 12
Compulsory Voting Solves Voter Turnout ........................................................................................... 16
Compulsory Voting Solves Voter Turnout ........................................................................................... 17
Compulsory Voting Solves Voter Turnout ........................................................................................... 18
Compulsory Voting Solves Democracy ............................................................................................... 19
Compulsory Voting Solves Democracy ............................................................................................... 20
Compulsory Voting Solves For The Role Of Money In Elections ......................................................... 21
Compulsory Voting Upholds Autonomy ............................................................................................. 22
Voter Turnout Is Key To Democratic Legitimacy ................................................................................. 23
PART V: NEGATIVE ................................................................................................................................. 24
Compulsory Voting Leads To Invalid Ballots ....................................................................................... 27
Compulsory Voting Does Not Solve Partisanship ............................................................................... 28
Compulsory Voting Hurts Policymaking .............................................................................................. 29
Compulsory Voting Does Not Uphold Democratic Legitimacy ........................................................... 30
Compulsory Voting Does Not Uphold Democratic Legitimacy ........................................................... 31
Compulsory Voting Does Not Uphold Fairness Or Reciprocity ........................................................... 32
Compulsory Voting Does Not Increase Political Engagement ............................................................ 33
Compulsory Voting Does Not Increase Civic Engagement .................................................................. 34
Removing The Secret Ballot Solves Voter Turnout ............................................................................. 35
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TOPIC

Resolved: In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory.
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PART I: TOPIC OVERVIEW
A. Introduction:
Since the United States initiated the use of the secret ballot in elections voter turnout has
declined. Turnout rates have decreased to the point where 50% is considered positive. This trend is
replicated throughout the world in other democracies that have voluntary voting systems. In these
nations, increasingly smaller segments of the population are doing a majority of the voting, which
shapes the results of the elections and the future of their nations to benefit those segments that vote.
This impedes equal representation principles inherent in democracy, and possibly threatens the
democratic legitimacy of these nations. Meanwhile, thirty-one nations around the globe have chosen a
different route and have mandated that voting is compulsory. In these nations, voter turnout often
remains in the 90s. However, these laws beg the question; is it legitimate for democracies to require
political participation when the right to participate or not participate is a core principle of democracy?
This topic analysis will seek to illuminate this question and some of the others that surround the
resolution, resolved: in a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory. The first part of the analysis will
provide an overview the resolution and some of its core questions, which is followed up by affirmative
and negative strategies open to debaters under this topic.
B. Overview:
The resolution asks us to consider whether or not, in a democracy, voting ought to be
compulsory. A quick internet search immediate reveals that a large portion of the literature surrounding
the topic area centers on the term of art, compulsory voting. Compulsory voting (CV), as discussed in
the literature, refers to voting laws used in about thirty-one nations around the world that attempt to
compel some level of mandatory voting in national elections. I say some level because most authors are
quick to point out that CV does not typically refer to voting laws that require citizens to cast a vote.
Instead, most laws that are referred to as CV in the literature are actually compulsory turnout laws that
mandate citizens appear at the voting station. Once they are there, they can abstain from voting. This is
in addition to a number of exemptions that a number of nations allow for that cover everything from
illness to religious objections. In essence, most literature that affirmatives will be relying upon that
refers to compulsory voting are not necessarily consistent with the resolution. A compelling argument
can be made that evidence touting the success of current compulsory voting systems are actually
negative ground.
If the resolutional framers had intended the affirmative to be able to defend current systems
that enforce compulsory turnout as opposed to actual compulsory voting, the framers would have used
the term of art CV. Instead, the framers chose to state that voting ought to be compulsory. This cuts
through the semantic grey area and clearly delineates that compulsory voting is affirmative ground and
all other options that stop short, such as compulsory turnout, are negative ground. However,
affirmatives wanting to avoid negative links to tyranny and autonomy arguments can try to win that
using the term of art to divide ground is best because this will allow them to say that citizens are not
forced to vote, which means their liberty or free choice is never compromised.
The central tension in the resolution will be between democratic performance/legitimacy and
the individuals right to autonomy/free choice. Democratic legitimacy is a core value because the
resolution is limited by the phrase, in democracy. This means that any policies, rights, or obligations
that contradict democratic principles and legitimacy are anti-resolutional. This discussion is framed by
the low voter turnout that is pervasive amongst nations with voluntary voting regimes, particularly in
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the United States. Some political scientists and pundits contend that low voter turnout is a threat to
democratic functioning and legitimacy because democracies rely upon the input of the people to ensure
that the will of the people is being represented and legislated. Currently, a number of age and class
factors are increasingly determining which segments of the population are turning up at elections and
selecting the leaders. In turn, the voice of these narrow segments and their interests are embodied in
the elected representatives, who in turn pander to their interests in an effort to seek reelection, further
distancing nonvoters from the political process. Some contend that compulsory voting regimes are
necessary to combat low voter turnout and increase political participation.
Proponents of compulsory voting believe that it is necessary to improve voter turnout and
ensure democratic legitimacy for a number of reasons. First, proponents believe that CV increases
political participation because it codifies the norm that voting is important. Second, CV is supposed de-
radicalize the political process by forcing politicians to gain the acceptance of apathetic or disinterested
citizens. In addition, it is argued that CV will reduce the role of big money in elections because it will
render get out the vote drives obsolete, in addition to providing a deterrent to negative ads, since a
majority of individuals are turned off by their use. Finally, CV is the only way to ensure that the currently
marginalized segments of the population that are currently not voting in large numbers will have their
voice in heard in elections and by their representatives, which can help combat the social and economic
exclusion they encounter in the first place.
The problem with forcing citizens to vote is that although it might resolve the voter turnout
issue, which might harm democratic legitimacy, forcing someone to provide an opinion is arguably
antithetical to the core democratic principle of autonomy. In this sense, the right to silence/free choice
conflicts with a democracys obligation to act legitimately. Some contend that both are burdens upon
the government. They must act legitimately and preserve autonomy, which means that liberty cannot be
abrogated; even it is in an attempt to preserve democracy.
The tension between individual rights and legitimacy also demonstrates that the resolution
concerns deontological questions, about individual rights, which are goods in and of themselves, and
utilitarian concerns about the instrumental value of compulsory voting regimes. Both sides of the
resolution will have access to both types of decision calculi, providing a variety of stock/traditional case
structures for debaters.
The utilitarian questions inherent in the resolution along with the nuances between the
different types of compulsory voting laws in place around the world and proposed in literature will
provide affirmatives and negative to approach the topic from a policy standpoint. Different laws and
exemptions will serve as a number of different plans or counterplans, depending on the definitions and
observations used to divide ground on either side. Affirmatives can use compulsory attendance cases to
avoid links to autonomy disadvantages, while solving some of the core legitimacy issues. Likewise, these
cases can be used on the negative to achieve the same strategic goals. It just depends on how you want
to divide resolutional ground. Either way, the variety of systems in place and proposed means that
debaters should learn the nuances between each of the systems to prepare themselves for all of the
types of plans/counterplans pertinent to the topic.
Finally, the resolution opens itself up to a variety of critical positions on both the affirmative and
negative that, either question the inequality of current voting practices and its resultant representation
or that question the governments ability to compel choice or speech in the form of voting.
C. Affirmative Strategies
Affirmatives will first have to choose whether or not they want to defend a resolutional
interpretation that forces them to defend compulsory voting or just compulsory attendance. The
benefits of compulsory attendance cases has already been discussed, so in this section I will focus on
cases that mandate compulsory voting by all citizens in a democracy.
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There are a variety of value structures that affirmatives can choose for this resolution. As
mentioned above, one of the core strategies will be to select cases that center around democracy,
democratic legitimacy, or rule of law as values in and of themselves. These cases are generally
utilitarian and argue that compulsory voting is best for democratic legitimacy, etc. because it solves for
low voter turnout and a number of other harms typical of voluntary voting systems (this will be
discussed in contention level analysis below).
Social contract and contractarianism cases are all possible under the affirmative side of the
topic. Social contract value structures contend that citizens give up some rights in exchange for the
benefits offered by government, including protection and representation. Although it can be argued that
compulsory voting violates individual autonomy by forcing individuals to vote, social contract cases
would argue that this is a necessary breach of a specific right in order to ensure the government
functions and is able to protect the citizenry. Contractariansim cases would argue that relationships are
defined by contracts between citizens and that one of these contracts in a democracy is that each
individual ought to vote. At this point, compulsory voting would be the fulfillment of the obligation. It is
possible to argue this as a negative, indicating that the onus to vote is on the individual and not
necessarily on making voting compulsory. Citizens have to vote. It is not obligatory to make citizens
vote.
Cases will also be able to utilize justice, equality, and fairness value structures. These cases
argue that the low turnout indicative of voluntary voting nations disrupts equality and fairness by
forcing the government to only be responsive to the small segments that make it to the polls.
Compulsory voting upholds these values by ensuring that everyone participates in the process.
Contention level debate will focus on the harms of collapsing democracies or what happens
when democracies become illegitimate or they will focus on the harms of low turnout and unequal
representation. Negatives will also have access to these contentions based on whether or not they offer
alternate obligations or policies, such as compulsory turnout. Critical contentions are possible with these
harms, since a lot of the unequal representation skews against marginalized populations.
D. Negative Strategies
This particular resolution will provide negatives with a variety of case structures and strategies
to pursue. The first strategy is to attempt a counterplan or counterplan-esque 1NC that attempts to
solve many of the same contentions and framework of the 1AC while avoiding additional harms or rights
violations. One example that was already discussed are compulsory turnout cases and counterplans.
Negatives can also pursue rights based or deontological cases to value rights, such as autonomy.
These cases contend that forcing citizens to vote is in direct violation of their autonomy. It will be
important for these cases to link back into the consequentialist framework of the 1AC by arguing that
autonomy is a key component to agency, which is a prerequisite for legitimate political action.
Many options are available that will utilize some sort of state bad strategy. Negatives can
claim that individuals have obligations to vote, but that government imposition of compulsory mandates
is illegitimate. This part of the debate is ripe for critical argumentation. Criticisms of democracy,
sovereignty, state action or political involvement have resolutional links through the phrases in a
democracy and voting. Coercion type arguments are also apropos as compulsory denotes forced
action. All of these can operate as individual contentions or as separate criticism depending on the
preference of the debater and the best choice for the round.
Counterplans will of course be an available strategy, but that has already been discussed at
length earlier in this topic analysis.
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PART II: BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bevege, Lydia, Development Coordinator at the Australian Institute of Public Affairs, Should voting be
compulsory? Sun Herald, June 10, 2012, http://www.ipa.org.au/sectors/ideas-
liberty/news/2681/should-voting-be-compulsory-.
This article contends that popular praise of the Australian system of compulsory voting is not
warranted. The author argues that, contrary to popular opinion, Australians are forced to vote
under their system and not merely show up at the voting station. Furthermore, she argues that
this system does not increase civic engagement or democracy because individuals are being
forced to participate against their will, resulting in disillusionment.

Birch, Sarah, The case for compulsory voting,, Public Policy Research, Volume 16, Issue 1, pages 2127,
March-May 2009.
This article looks at the consequences of low voter turnout and concludes that the status quo is
skewed in terms of class and age. The author contends that compulsory voting would remedy
misrepresentation at the ballot box and would help lead to a more fair political and social
system.

Engelen, Bart, Research Assistant of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Belgium), Centre for
Economics and Ethics Institute of Philosophy (K.U.Leuven), Why Compulsory Voting Can Enhance
Democracy, Acta Politica, 2007, 42, (2339).
This article contends that compulsory voting is necessary to enhance democracy and preserve
governmental legitimacy. The author argues that low voter turnout leads to unequal
representation, which hurts accountability and equality.

Engelen, Bart, Research Assistant of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Belgium), Centre for
Economics and Ethics Institute of Philosophy (K.U.Leuven), Why Liberals Can Favour Compulsory
Attendance, Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 218222, October 2009.
This article suggests that compulsory voting is an inaccurate term and that these laws actually
mandate compulsory attendance at polling stations. The author contends that the secret ballot
structure, in addition to the presence of exemptions will guarantee that the rights of citizens are
not violated by compulsory voting and that it is a democratically legitimate practice.

Galston, William, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, Telling Americans to Vote, Or Else, The New
York Times, November 5, 2011. http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2011/11/05-voting-
galston, accessed 6/20/2012.
This article argues that the United States should adopt a system of compulsory voting in order to
solve low turnout rates. The author concludes that compulsory voting systems force less
ideological individuals to participate in elections, which results in partisanship.

Goldberg , Jonah, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Voter Apathy Isnt a Crime,
National Review Online, June 27, 2012, http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/304018/voter-apathy-
isn-t-crime-jonah-goldberg.
This article looks at recent literature written by proponents of compulsory voting and analyzes
the arguments they forward. The author concludes that proponents of compulsory voting are
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merely advocating the policy in order to gain political control in Washington for the Democrats
at that compulsory voting is antithetical to democracy.

Hill, Lisa, Professor at Australian National University, On the Reasonableness of Compelling Citizens to
Vote: the Australian Case, Political Studies, Volume 50, Issue 1, pages 80101, March 2002.
This article looks at the Australian system of compulsory voting as a case study to determine
whether or not an obligation to vote exists, which in turn would mean that compulsory voting is
legitimate. The author concludes that compulsory voting is legitimate because it provides a
number of public goods. The author also concludes that an obligation does exist to vote;
however, the obligation is owed to other citizens and not the state.

Issenberg, Sasha, Abolish the Secret Ballot, The Atlantic, July/August, 2012.,
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/abolish-the-secret-ballot/9038/.
This article argues that voter apathy is rampant in the United States and must be addressed. The
author argues that removing the secret ballot is the best method for increasing turnout because
citizens would have to justify their votes.

Jackman, Simon, Assistant Professor and Victoria Schuck Faculty Scholar, Department of Political Science
at Stanford, Compulsory Voting, to appear in the International Encyclopedia of the Social and
Behavioral Sciences. 2001. http://jackman.stanford.edu/papers/cv.pdf, accessed 7/1/2012.
This article is written by an Assistant Professor at Stanford and provides excellent background
on the history of compulsory voting, the types of systems in place, and the consequences of
compulsory voting. This article, written for the International Encyclopedia of the Social and
Behavioral Sciences takes a look at compulsory voting systems throughout the world, which
provides an overview of all its applications, and a variety of case studies to look at the viability of
such a political system.

Lachat and Selb, Romain and Peter, The more, the better? Counterfactual evidence on the effect of
compulsory voting on the consistency of party choice, European Journal of Political Research, Volume
48, Issue 5, pages 573597, August 2009.
This article examines the role of compulsory voting in party affiliation. The authors conclude
that compulsory voting disrupts the consistency of party choices because less informed and
interested voters are forced to participate, which refutes the claim that compulsory voting will
lead to more representation.

Lacroix, Justine, A Liberal Defence of Compulsory Voting, Politics, Volume 27, Issue 3, pages 190195,
October 2007.
This article contends that it is possible to make liberal justifications for compulsory voting laws.
The author says that while most critics argue that compulsory voting harms individual choice,
the system is actually justified using non-utilitarian reasoning. The authors conceptions of
autonomy and equal liberty justify compulsory voting since it is consistent with such bedrock
principles of political liberalism.

Lever, Annabelle, Professor at Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation, The University of Manchester
Law School, Compulsory Voting: A Critical Perspective, B.J.Pol.S. 40, 897915 Copyright r Cambridge
University Press, 2010.
This article looks at two of the main arguments used to justify compulsory voting laws;
compulsory voting solves for unequal participating and that non-voters are free-riders. The
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author contends that, while individuals might have a moral obligation vote, they do not have a
legal or democratic obligation to vote.

Lever, Annabelle, Professor at Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation, The University of Manchester
Law School A Liberal Defence of Compulsory Voting: Some Reasons for Scepticism, Politics, Volume
28, Issue 1, pages 6164, February 2008
This article looks at liberal defenses of compulsory voting that have been advanced using the
work of Rawls or Dwarkin, that argue such laws are just because democracy is a good end to
promote in and of itself. The author goes on to conclude that such reasoning is flawed because
the compulsory nature of the laws is antithetical to the democratic notion of choice.

Lever, Annabelle, Professor at Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation, The University of Manchester
Law School Liberalism, Democracy, and the Ethics of Voting, Politics,Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 223
227, October 2009.
This article examines arguments in favor of compulsory voting laws, the ethical obligations for
citizens to vote and the necessity to preserve democratic legitimacy. The author argues that
compulsory systems are not ethically justified because they do not allow citizens to abstain from
the election.

Loewenal, Peter John, et al., Does Compulsory Voting Lead to More Informed and Engaged Citizens? An
Experimental Test, Canadian Journal of Political Science, 2008, 41 : pp 655-672.
This paper conveys the results of an experiment conducted by the authors the intended to
measure whether or not compulsory voting resulted in secondary effects amongst the voters.
The study was conducted during the 2007 Quebec provincial election using students from
students at Montreal CEGEP. The authors concluded that compulsory voting did not improve the
knowledge and engagement level of the voters.

Mackerras, McAllister, Compulsory voting, party stability and electoral advantage in Australia,
Electoral Studies, Volume 18, Issue 2, June 1999, Pages 217233
This article looks at Australia as a case study to determine the consequences of compulsory
voting, since it is the oldest system of compulsory voting in place. The author concludes that
compulsory voting has led to a rise in invalid ballots, while privileging left-wing and minority
parties at the expense of right-wing parties.

Panagopoulos, Costas, The Calculus of Voting in Compulsory Voting Systems, Political Behavior,
Volume 30, Number 4 (2008), 455-467
This article uses the Rational Choice Model to analyze the reasoning behind voter choice in
nations that use compulsory voting systems. The author concludes that the high turnout rates
are not necessarily due to the compulsory nature of the system, but is more dependent upon
the penalties imposed for noncompliance and the effectiveness of the enforcement regime.

Power and Roberts, Timothy J. and J. Timmons, Compulsory Voting, Abstention in Ballots, and
Abstention in Brazil, Political Research Quarterly, December 1995 vol. 48 no. 4 795-826.
This article looks at the high incidents of invalid ballots and abstention in Brazil, which uses a
system of compulsory voting. The authors conclude that these problems are due to institutional
failures rather than the system of compulsory voting.

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Rudin, Ken, Political commentator at NPR and Editorial Coordinator at StateImpact, Is 'Compulsory
Voting' The Answer? June 1, 2010.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/politicaljunkie/2010/06/01/127348895/is-compulsory-voting-the-answer,
accessed 7/2/2012.
This article quotes an interview with William Galston, who is a Fellow at the Brookings Institute.
Galston concludes that compulsory voting would be the best way to redress the poor voter
turnout in the United States and to improve the democratic process by forcing the involvement
of non-voters, who are usually less ideological than those that vote. Galston argues that less
ideological voters will elect less ideological leaders, resulting in a more efficient government.

Wattenberg, Martin. 2006. Is Voting for Young People? 1
st
ed., Longman; 2006.
This book examines the reasons for low voter turnout amongst the youth and the political
consequences of the low turnout. Wattenberg concludes that political participation increases
with age, which indicates that low turnout is natural. Wattenberg goes on to argue that low
voter turnout in the youth does skew representation and then looks at the pros and cons for
using compulsory voting to address low voter turnout amongst the youth.
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PART III: DEFINITIONS
Democracy
Definition:
1. noun (pl. democracies) a form of government in which the people have a voice in the exercise of
power, typically through elected representatives.
2. a state governed in such a way.
3. control of a group by the majority of its members.
Source:
Concise Oxford English Dictionary 2008 Oxford University Press,
http://www.wordreference.com/definition/democracy
Definition:
1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people
and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
2. a state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies.
3. a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.
4. political or social equality; democratic spirit.
5. the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people
with respect to their political power.
Source:
Dictionary.com - http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/democracy?s=t
Definition:
1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme
power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of
representation usually involving periodically held free elections
2: a political unit that has a democratic government
3: capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the United States <from
emancipation Republicanism to New Deal Democracy C. M. Roberts>
Source:
Merriam Websters Dictionary - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/democracy

Ought
Definition:
used to express justice, moral rightness, or the like
Source:
Dictionary.com
Definition:
That which should be done, the obligatory; a statement using ought, expressing a moral imperative
Source:
Oxford English Dictionary
Definition:
used to express obligation
Source:
Merriam-Webster

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Compulsory
Definition:
1. required by law or a rule; obligatory
2. involving or exercising compulsion; coercive
Source:
Concise Oxford English Dictionary 2008 Oxford University Press,
http://www.wordreference.com/definition/compulsory
Definition:
1. required; mandatory; obligatory: compulsory education.
2. using compulsion; compelling; constraining: compulsory measures to control rioting.
Source:
Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/compulsory
Definition:
1: mandatory, enforced <compulsory retirement>
2: coercive, compelling <compulsory measures>
Source:
Merriam Websters Dictionary - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compulsory


Compulsory Voting
Compulsory Voting Term Of Art Do Not Have To Vote
Definition:
Compulsory voting is a system of laws, mandating that enfranchised citizens turn out to vote and
impose penalties for noncompliance
Source:
Simon Jackman, Assistant Professor and Victoria Schuck Faculty Scholar, Department of Political Science
at Stanford, 2001 (Compulsory Voting, to appear in the International Encyclopedia of the Social and
Behavioral Sciences, http://jackman.stanford.edu/papers/cv.pdf, accessed 7/1/2012)
Compulsory voting (CV) is a system of laws and/or norms, mandating that enfranchised citizens turn
out to vote, and usually specifying penalties for noncompliance. The number of countries using CV in at
least some of their elections is greater than commonly recognized. One recent estimate is that twenty
four countries constituting roughly 17% of the worlds democracies employ compulsory voting to some
extent (Australia 2000, 170).


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PART IV: AFFIRMATIVE
I affirm that, resolved: in a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory.
I offer the following observation:
Observation 1: The Resolution Is Limited By The Phrase In A Democracy.
This means that preserving democratic principles is paramount. Any policy or obligation that would
violate basic democratic principles must be excluded. Competing obligations must always side in favor
of the obligation that best preserves democracy.
Thus, my value is democratic legitimacy.
Legitimacy is the bedrock of any political organization and essential to the survival of all democracies
Jorge Aragon, Professor at Saint Louis University, 2008 (Political Legitimacy and Democracy,
Encyclopedia of Campaigns, Elections, and Electoral Behavior, pg 1-3)
The stability and functioning of any kind of political regimeincluding democratic or representative
onesrelies on the combination of the capacity of rulers and government officials to use coercion and
the development of political legitimacy. Political legitimacy can be described as peoples recognition
and acceptance of the validity of the rules of their entire political system and the decisions of their
rulers. Accordingly, two things can be expected from political systems that have a considerable level of
political legitimacy. First, these political systems will be more resilient to survive periods of crisis, and,
second, rulers and authorities will enjoy a fundamental condition needed to formulate and implement
policies in an effective manner (i.e., they will be able to make decisions and commit resources without
needing to obtain approval from the ruled and without resorting to coercion for every decision). The
issue of political legitimacy can therefore be considered to be of utmost importance in politics and
political analysis.
In addition, the resolution asks us to determine whether or not voting ought to be compulsory, or
mandated. In order to answer this question, we should look to the impacts of compulsory voting to
determine if the obligation would have more favorable consequences for democratic legitimacy than
negative.



Thus, my value-criterion will be consequentialism.
Consequentialism is the best means for determining whether or not compulsory voting best upholds
democratic legitimacy for several reasons:
1) Consequentialism is the most preferable weighing mechanism for informing governmental and
political actions. Utilitarian ethics, such as consequentialism, are necessary because the goal of the
government is to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people, while minimizing risk
to the individual.
2) All ethical and policy decisions devolve to consequentialist calculus because rights, policies, and
values inevitably conflict and it is necessary to look to the pros and cons to determine which ones take
priority.
Thus, the burden for the affirmative team in todays round is to prove that compulsory voting is best
for democratic legitimacy, proving that voting ought to be compulsory. The affirmative does not have
to prove that all aspects of compulsory voting uphold democratic legitimacy, but only that compulsory
voting is better for legitimacy than non-compulsory voting.
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The burden for the negative is to prove that the harms of mandating citizens in democracies vote is
more damaging to democratic legitimacy than non-compulsory voting.
Contention 1: Low Voter Turnout Is A Threat To Democratic Legitimacy
The number one threat to democratic legitimacy around the world is lack of political participation,
such as voting increasing participation and increasing democratic functionality is essential to
legitimacy
Jorge Aragon, Professor at Saint Louis University, 2008 (Political Legitimacy and Democracy,
Encyclopedia of Campaigns, Elections, and Electoral Behavior, pg 1-3)
Finally, current empirical research reveals that both established and new democracies are suffering an
important decline in some of the key aspects of democratic legitimacy, at least among ordinary
citizens. Along with this common trend, there are also some critical differences. In the case of
established democracies, the erosion of democratic legitimacy seems to be basically constrained to
democratic institutions and authorities. On the contrary, in the case of several new democracies, not
only is democratic legitimacy itself a much more volatile phenomenon, but its erosion seems to be
affecting some of the main democratic principles and procedures, and sometimes the entire democratic
regime. The main reason for this is probably profound citizen dissatisfaction with the economic and
political performance of current democratic administrations in recently established democratic regimes.
However, what both established and new democracies seem to be sharing is that their citizens are
realizing that despite the democratic assertion that the people are the ultimate source of political
authority, they are not exercising much of this power. At the same time, and considering that the
democratic project has been mostly state-centered, both established and new democracies are suffering
from the fact that the capacities of their states have diminished in recent decades and that an important
part of what is relevant for politics and societies is occurring outside the realm of the state.
Contention 2: Compulsory Voting Solves For Voter Turnout, Even If There Are
Exemptions
Empirical studies demonstrate that compulsory voter laws are a symbol that voting is important and
engenders civic duty even if enforcement is lax and exemptions are available
Bart Engelen, Research Assistant of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Belgium), Centre for
Economics and Ethics Institute of Philosophy (K.U.Leuven), 2009 (Why Liberals Can Favour
Compulsory Attendance, Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 218222, October 2009)
It may seem strange to defend compulsory attendance laws while stressing that their enforcement
should not be strict. Nevertheless, empirical research shows that compulsory attendance laws, even
when not actively enforced by means of harsh penalties, engender compliance. Turnout in countries
with no enforcement is about 6 per cent higher than in countries with no compulsory voting (IDEA,
2002, p. 110). Here, formal laws are mainly a symbolic reminder that going out to vote is desirable. As
such, they uphold the social norm and civic sense of duty to vote, which suggests that compulsory
voting is a cultural rather than legal phenomenon (Hill, 2002, p. 95). In short, compulsory voting can
... be very effective in raising turnout in spite of low penalties that are imposed for failing to vote
(usuallysimilar to a parking violation), in spite of the lax enforcement (usually much less stringent than
parking rules are enforced), and in spite of the secret ballot, which means that an actual vote cannot
be compelled in the first place (Lijphart, 1998, p. 2).
Contention 3: Compulsory Voting Is Necessary To Ensure A Functioning Democracy
Democracy as it is practiced in voluntary voting nations is broken. In order to ensure a functioning
democracy, governments must adopt compulsory voting for three reasons: 1) it increases the civic
responsibility of citizens, 2) it guarantees that the voices of all citizens is included, which is not
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happening currently due to social inequality, 3) overcome the polarization and partisanship of todays
political landscape compulsory voting is the only way to overcome gridlock and allow the
government to perform its obligated functions
William Galston, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, 2011 (Telling Americans to Vote, Or Else,
The New York Times, 11/5,2011, http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2011/11/05-voting-
galston, accessed 6/20/2012)
Proponents offer three reasons in favor of mandatory voting. The first is straightforwardly civic. A
democracy cant be strong if its citizenship is weak. And right now American citizenship is attenuated
strong on rights, weak on responsibilities. There is less and less that being a citizen requires of us,
especially after the abolition of the draft. Requiring people to vote in national elections once every two
years would reinforce the principle of reciprocity at the heart of citizenship. The second argument for
mandatory voting is democratic. Ideally, a democracy will take into account the interests and views of
all citizens. But if some regularly vote while others dont, officials are likely to give greater weight to
participants. This might not matter much if nonparticipants were evenly distributed through the
population. But political scientists have long known that they arent. People with lower levels of income
and education are less likely to vote, as are young adults and recent first-generation immigrants.
Changes in our political system have magnified these disparities. During the 1950s and 60s, when
turnout rates were much higher, political parties reached out to citizens year-round. At the local level
these parties, which reformers often criticized as machines, connected even citizens of modest means
and limited education with neighborhood institutions and gave them a sense of participation in national
politics as well. (In its heyday, organized labor reinforced these effects.) But in the absence of these
more organic forms of political mobilization, the second-best option is a top-down mechanism of
universal mobilization. Mandatory voting would tend to even out disparities stemming from income,
education and age, enhancing our systems inclusiveness. It is true, as some object, that an
enforcement mechanism would impose greater burdens on those with fewer resources. But this makes
it all the more likely that these citizens would respond by going to the polls, and they would stand to
gain far more than the cost of a traffic ticket. The third argument for mandatory voting goes to the
heart of our current ills. Our low turnout rate pushes American politics toward increased polarization.
The reason is that hard-core partisans are more likely to dominate lower-turnout elections, while
those who are less fervent about specific issues and less attached to political organizations tend not to
participate at levels proportional to their share of the electorate. A distinctive feature of our
constitutional system elections that are quadrennial for president but biennial for the House of
Representatives magnifies these effects. Its bad enough that only three-fifths of the electorate
turns out to determine the next president, but much worse that only two-fifths of our citizens vote in
House elections two years later. If events combine to energize one part of the political spectrum and
dishearten the other, a relatively small portion of the electorate can shift the system out of all
proportion to its numbers. Some observers are comfortable with this asymmetry. But if you think that
todays intensely polarized politics impedes governance and exacerbates mistrust and that is what
most Americans firmly (and in my view rightly) believe then you should be willing to consider
reforms that would strengthen the forces of conciliation. Imagine our politics with laws and civic
norms that yield near-universal voting. Campaigns could devote far less money to costly, labor-
intensive get-out-the-vote efforts. Media gurus wouldnt have the same incentive to drive down
turnout with negative advertising. Candidates would know that they must do more than mobilize
their bases with red-meat rhetoric on hot-button issues. Such a system would improve not only
electoral politics but also the legislative process. Rather than focusing on symbolic gestures whose
major purpose is to agitate partisans, Congress might actually roll up its sleeves and tackle the serious,
complex issues it ignores.
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Contention 4: Negative Contentions Are Empirically Wrong
Some argue that compulsory voting will never work in individualistic and libertarian nations, such as
the United States, and that forcing citizens to vote is a form of statist control. However, this has not
been a problem. Thirty-one nations from all over the globe have compulsory voting, and even in
countries with individualist tendencies on part with the united states, voter turnout has increased and
none of the horror stories have ever materialized. Compulsory voting laws change civic norms in spite
of existing attitudes
William Galston, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, 2011 (Telling Americans to Vote, Or Else,
The New York Times, 11/5/2011, http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2011/11/05-voting-
galston, accessed 6/20/2012)
Thirty-one countries have some form of mandatory voting, according to the International Institute for
Democracy and Electoral Assistance. The list includes nine members of the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development and two-thirds of the Latin American nations. More than half back up the
legal requirement with an enforcement mechanism, while the rest are content to rely on the moral
force of the law Despite the prevalence of mandatory voting in so many democracies, its easy to
dismiss the practice as a form of statism that couldnt work in Americas individualistic and libertarian
political culture. But consider Australia, whose political culture is closer to that of the United States
than that of any other English-speaking country. Alarmed by a decline in voter turnout to less than 60
percent in 1922, Australia adopted mandatory voting in 1924, backed by small fines (roughly the size of
traffic tickets) for nonvoting, rising with repeated acts of nonparticipation. The law established
permissible reasons for not voting, like illness and foreign travel, and allows citizens who faced fines for
not voting to defend themselves. The results were remarkable. In the 1925 election, the first held
under the new law, turnout soared to 91 percent. In recent elections, it has hovered around 95
percent. The law also changed civic norms. Australians are more likely than before to see voting as an
obligation. The negative side effects many feared did not materialize. For example, the percentage of
ballots intentionally spoiled or completed randomly as acts of resistance remained on the order of 2
to 3 percent.
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Compulsory Voting Solves Voter Turnout
Within-country studies proves that compulsory voting increases voter turnout in
countries that switch it is not just a matter of countries with high turnout codifying
their norms
Simon Jackman, Assistant Professor and Victoria Schuck Faculty Scholar, Department of Political
Science at Stanford, 2001 (Compulsory Voting, to appear in the International Encyclopedia of the
Social and Behavioral Sciences, http://jackman.stanford.edu/papers/cv.pdf, accessed 7/1/2012)
Hirczy (1994, 65) makes a compelling argument that cross-national analyses provide no causal proof
that mandatory voting actually produces high turnout, 4 and indeed, the causal arrow may be
reversed; i.e., a country that adheres to a norm of high turnout simply enshrines its civic norm in
law. A research design that overcomes this threat is to compare turnout within countries, before and
after the implementation or repeal of CV, or across sub-national units with and without CV. An
additional strength of this design is that within countries many of the factors affecting turnout remain
constant even while CV comes or goes. Studies of this type find CV to have large effects on aggregate
turnout. Prior to the implementation of CV in 1924, turnout in the nine elections for Australias House
of Representatives averaged 64.2%; in the nine elections following the introduction of CV turnout
averaged 94.6%, an increase of 30.4 percentage points (t = 8.7; authors calculations, using data in
Hughes and Graham (1968)). In the Netherlands, the abolition of CV in 1970 was followed by a drop of
roughly 10 percentage points to roughly 84% (Irwin 1974; Hirczy 1994). In addition, the removal of
fines for non-voting in Venezuela in 1993 saw turnout fall by roughly 30 percentage points (Lijphart
1997, 9). In Austria, cross-provincial and longitudinal variation in the use of CV permits a powerful
assessment of the impact of CV. Turnout in eleven federal parliamentary elections between 1953 and
1987 averaged 92.7% in provinces without CV; among provinces with CV turnout averaged 95.7%, to
yield a treatment effect of 3.0 percentage points (t=3.4), this smaller but statistically significant effect
reflecting a ceiling effect (turnout rates are bounded at 100%).
Compulsory voting solves voter turnout by imposing penalties on non-voters
Simon Jackman, Assistant Professor and Victoria Schuck Faculty Scholar, Department of Political
Science at Stanford, 2001 (Compulsory Voting, to appear in the International Encyclopedia of the
Social and Behavioral Sciences, http://jackman.stanford.edu/papers/cv.pdf, accessed 7/1/2012)
CV has a direct impact on voter turnout, evident in both aggregate and individual level analyses. The
underlying logic is extremely simple. CVs non-compliance penalties offset the costs of electoral
participation, effectively attaching a cost to not turning out and thereby overcoming the fact that
turnout is a low benefit activity for many citizens (Lijphart 1997, 9). A number of indirect consequences
of CV are also discussed.
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Compulsory Voting Solves Voter Turnout
Compulsory voting solves turnout there is no incentive to vote without it
Peter R. Orszag, vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on
Foreign Relations, and was President Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget, 2012
(Make Voting Mandatory, June 19, 2012, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-19/voting-
should-be-mandatory.html, accessed 6/25/2012)
For economists, the puzzle is not why voting participation rates are so low in voluntary systems, but
why theyre so high. The so-called paradox of voting, highlighted in a 1957 book by the political
scientist Anthony Downs, occurs because the probability that any individual voter can alter the
outcome of an election is effectively zero. So if voting imposes any cost, in terms of time or hassle, a
perfectly rational person would conclude its not worth doing. The problem is that if each person were
to reach such a rational conclusion no one would vote, and the system would collapse. Mandatory
voting solves that collective action problem by requiring people to vote and punishing nonvoters with
a fine. In Australia, the penalty starts small and rises significantly for those who repeatedly fail to vote.
Compulsory voting solves voter turnout cross-national evidence proves that turnout
increases in spite of nati0nal differences
Simon Jackman, Assistant Professor and Victoria Schuck Faculty Scholar, Department of Political Science
at Stanford, 2001 (Compulsory Voting, to appear in the International Encyclopedia of the Social and
Behavioral Sciences, http://jackman.stanford.edu/papers/cv.pdf, accessed 7/1/2012)
Even a casual inspection of compendiums of aggregate turnout statistics reveals higher turnout among
countries with CV. For instance, a recent collection of data on voter turnout in 171 countries finds
turnout about six or seven percentage points higher in 24 countries with some form of CV than in
countries without CV (IDEA 1997, 32). Multivariate statistical analyses typically find CV to have larger
impacts on turnout, controlling for other institutional and political variables that affect turnout.
Lijpharts (1997) review finds CV associated with a boost in turnout rates of seven to sixteen
percentage points; for examples of the studies reviewed, see Powell (1981), Jackman (1987), Jackman
and Miller (1995), and Franklin (1999), the latter study being distinctive for including an individual-level
analysis, exploiting survey data from European Union countries. Among Latin American countries, the
estimated turnout boost associated with CV is roughly eleven to seventeen percentage points (Fornos
1996). These results are striking considering (a) large cross-national differences in institutional and
political characteristics of these countries that impact turnout (e.g., Jackmans 1987 study considered
competitiveness of elections, electoral disproportionality, number of political parties, unicameralism
vs bicameralism, but found CV to have the largest impact on turnout of all these institutional features)
and (b) considerable variability in the enforcement of CV among those countries that ostensibly have
CV.
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Compulsory Voting Solves Voter Turnout

Compulsory voting solves turnout there is no incentive to vote without it
Peter R. Orszag, vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on
Foreign Relations, and was President Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget, 2012
(Make Voting Mandatory, June 19, 2012, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-19/voting-
should-be-mandatory.html, accessed 6/25/2012)
For economists, the puzzle is not why voting participation rates are so low in voluntary systems, but
why theyre so high. The so-called paradox of voting, highlighted in a 1957 book by the political
scientist Anthony Downs, occurs because the probability that any individual voter can alter the
outcome of an election is effectively zero. So if voting imposes any cost, in terms of time or hassle, a
perfectly rational person would conclude its not worth doing. The problem is that if each person were
to reach such a rational conclusion no one would vote, and the system would collapse. Mandatory
voting solves that collective action problem by requiring people to vote and punishing nonvoters with
a fine. In Australia, the penalty starts small and rises significantly for those who repeatedly fail to vote.
Emprically, compulsory voting increases voter turnout and even if Americans oppose
it, attitudes change, as proven by DADT
Ken Rudin, Political commentator at NPR and Editorial Coordinator at StateImpact, 2010 (Is
'Compulsory Voting' The Answer?,
http://www.npr.org/blogs/politicaljunkie/2010/06/01/127348895/is-compulsory-voting-the-answer,
accessed 7/2/2012)
Australia had voting participation at around 60 percent before it instituted mandatory voting, and
now it's up to 95 percent. But, as Robert pointed out, an ABC News poll indicated that 72 percent of
Americans are opposed to compulsory voting. Isn't this a non-starter? Galston conceded that it could
be tough but added that perceptions change. Just look at the public's turnaround on "don't ask, don't
tell," he said.
Compulsory voting solves turnout Australia empirically proves
Peter R. Orszag, vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on
Foreign Relations, and was President Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget, 2012
(Make Voting Mandatory, June 19, 2012, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-19/voting-
should-be-mandatory.html, accessed 6/25/2012)
The U.S. prides itself as the beacon of democracy, but its very likely no U.S. president has ever been
elected by a majority of American adults. Its our own fault -- because voter participation rates are
running below 60 percent, a candidate would have to win 85 percent or more of the vote to be
elected by a majority. Compulsory voting, as exists in Australia and more than two dozen other
countries, would fix that problem. As William Galston of the Brookings Institution argues, Jury duty is
mandatory; why not voting? Mandating voting has a clear effect: It raises participation rates. Before
Australia adopted compulsory voting in 1924, for example, it had turnout rates similar to those of the
U.S. After voting became mandatory, participation immediately jumped from 59 percent in the
election of 1922 to 91 percent in the election of 1925. The political scientists Lisa Hill and Jonathon
Louth of the University of Adelaide note that turnout rates among the voting age population in
Australia have remained consistently high and against the trend of steadily declining voting
participation in advanced democracies worldwide.

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Compulsory Voting Solves Democracy
Compulsory voting increases election regimes, which leads to greater
professionalization, better results, and more incentives for participation
Simon Jackman, Assistant Professor and Victoria Schuck Faculty Scholar, Department of Political Science
at Stanford, 2001 (Compulsory Voting, to appear in the International Encyclopedia of the Social and
Behavioral Sciences, http://jackman.stanford.edu/papers/cv.pdf, accessed 7/1/2012) CV does place an
onus on citizens, but states with CV typically reciprocate with institutional mechanisms reducing
compliance costs (e.g., weekend voting, ease of registration, widespread use of absentee and postal
ballots). According to Gosnell (1930, 209) fines and penalties under a system of compulsory voting are
a minor matter. The important feature of the system is that voting is regarded as a civic duty and the
government does everything to impress upon voters this point of view. And as a practical matter, the
more serious the commitment to CV, the more bureaucratic resources are required to maintain
registration records and ensure compliance. For instance, in Australia, these two sides of CV -- the
carrot and stick -- are administered by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), a large and highly
professional bureaucracy responsible for all aspects of Australian federal elections. Ensuring compliance
with CV is just one of many AEC functions, and the bulk of its activities are to do with other aspects of
election administration (e.g., redistricting, voter registration, public financing of campaigns, ballot
design, location and staffing of polling stations, vote tallying). Thus one (perhaps unintended)
consequence of CV is the centralization and professionalization of election administration. In turn this
may mitigate the dangers that accompany decentralized and non-professional election
administration, clearly evident in the aftermath of the 2000 U.S. presidential election.
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Compulsory Voting Solves Democracy
Compulsory voting increases representation, which improves democracy
Peter R. Orszag, vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on
Foreign Relations, and was President Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget, 2012
(Make Voting Mandatory, June 19, 2012, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-19/voting-
should-be-mandatory.html, accessed 6/25/2012)
This brings us to the paradox of compulsory voting: Its a sensible idea that could be enacted only
when it would have almost no effect. In that case, some might wonder, why do it? The answer is that
increased participation would make our democracy work better, in the sense of being more reflective
of the population at large. And it could allow the first president in history to be elected by a majority of
American adults.
Compulsory voting improves democracy by including the non-ideological middle in the
election, which solves government gridlock because non-ideological leaders are
elected
Ken Rudin, Political commentator at NPR and Editorial Coordinator at StateImpact, 2010 (Is
'Compulsory Voting' The Answer?,
http://www.npr.org/blogs/politicaljunkie/2010/06/01/127348895/is-compulsory-voting-the-answer,
accessed 7/2/2012) William Galston thinks the key to less polarization in the electorate is compulsory
voting. It's the disaffected, the angry, who vote. The Howard Beales of the world. If everyone
including those in the less intense middle voted, you would get fewer ideologues in office. The
Brookings Institution scholar is among those who are dismayed at the turnout in this country. Those in
the wide middle of the spectrum are the ones who abstain from voting, and Galston thinks that's not
good. Get more people in the process by making it easier to vote through things like liberalized
absentee voting. It's good for democracy, he says. But there's a catch to compulsory voting. You don't
vote, you pay a fine. He is encouraged by the Australian system that that imposes a penalty
anywhere from $20 to $70 on those who don't vote. Galston wrote about these ideas in a Brookings
policy brief that was released today, and he talked about them with NPR's Robert Siegel, an interview
that will air tonight on "All Things Considered." Galston believes that the "participation of less
ideologically committed voters" would lead to depolarization. He concedes that while "passionate
partisanship infuses the system with energy," the U.S. electorate is as polarized as it was back in the
1890s, which "erects roadblocks to problem-solving." And while many "committed partisans prefer
gridlock to compromise," gridlock is "no formula for effective governance."

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Compulsory Voting Solves For The Role Of Money In Elections
Compulsory voting decreases the influence of big money in elections by reducing the
role of negative advertisements and voter registration drives
Peter R. Orszag, vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on
Foreign Relations, and was President Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget, 2012
(Make Voting Mandatory, June 19, 2012, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-19/voting-
should-be-mandatory.html, accessed 6/25/2012)
Beyond simply raising participation, compulsory voting could alter the role of money in elections. Turn-
out-the-vote efforts, often bankrolled by big-money groups, would become largely irrelevant.
Negative advertising could be less effective, because a central aim of such ads is to discourage
participation in the opponents camp.


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Compulsory Voting Upholds Autonomy
Compulsory voting allow citizens to abstain from voting, they only have to show up at
the polls this means that the affirmative does not link to negative contentions that
assert compulsory voting violates liberty or autonomy
Bart Engelen, Research Assistant of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Belgium), Centre for Economics
and Ethics Institute of Philosophy (K.U.Leuven), 2009 (Why Liberals Can Favour Compulsory Attendance,
Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 218222, October 2009)
A number of simple institutional measures can ensure that no citizen is ever obliged by the state to express his
or her political views, even in countries with compulsory voting laws. In my view, these are required conditions
that have to be fulfilled before a country can legitimately implement such laws. They guarantee that each and
every citizen is allowed to think for him/herself, to speak for him/herself and, if he or she wishes, to remain
silent. First, there is the secrecy of the ballot. As a matter of fact, compulsory voting is a misnomer. What is
made compulsory is not voting, but attendance at the polling station. All a citizen has to do to comply is register
his or her presence. The state has no control whatsoever over his or her choice inside the voting booth. As long
as the ballot is secret, voting simply cannot be made compulsory. In this sense, it would be more accurate to
speak of compulsory attendance or compulsory turnout. As Arendt Lijphart (1998, p. 10) perhaps the best-
known proponent of compulsory attendance rightly argues, the secret ballot guarantees that the right not to
vote remains intact. If a state not only obliges its citizens to show up at elections but also to publicly express
their vote, totalitarianism is lurking. However, in each of the countries that implement such laws,1 the ballot's
secrecy is guaranteed. Second, a blank option can and should be provided on the ballot. This way, voters can
refrain from choosing from any of the available parties and candidates. As Lacroix (2007, p. 193) argues, people's
freedom of thought cannot be violated if they have the option of casting such a blank vote. In my view, an
additional none of the above option should be added, since this allows one to distinguish between purely
apathetic and apolitical voters on the one hand (blank) and anti-political protest voters on the other hand (none
of the above). Third, one should refrain from sanctioning abstainers too heavily. In fact, most countries only
impose small sanctions. In Australia and Belgium, for example, which are known for their strict enforcement,
there is no systematic prosecution of abstainers. What happens is that some of the abstainers receive a so-
called please explain letter in which they are asked to fill in the reason for their abstention. Those who fail to
give a legitimate reason like a stay abroad, illness or a more principled objection risk a fine of 2550. While
Lever (2008, p. 64) wants to associate compulsory attendance with a totalitarian regime in which otherwise law-
abiding citizens may be sent to prison for the failure to pay fines for not voting, it is safe to say that this is a vast
exaggeration.2 It is interesting to see that people who object on principle to participating in elections are
exempted from fines. These so-called conscientious objectors fundamentally disagree with the system or regime
as a whole. They refuse to vote not because it is inconvenient or boring but because of politically principled
reasons. I certainly support the practice of exempting from fines citizens who provide plausible reasons why voting
is against their conscience. In fact, I agree with Lever (2008, p. 64) that both religious and secular reasons can be
valid. In my view, counting them as legitimate excuses in the please explain letter is an effective way of
respecting people's freedom of thought and speech.
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Voter Turnout Is Key To Democratic Legitimacy
High voter turnout is a prerequisite to democratic legitimacy it is key to ensure equal
representation and political accountability
Bart Engelen, Research Assistant of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Belgium), Centre for
Economics and Ethics Institute of Philosophy (K.U.Leuven), 2009 (Why Liberals Can Favour
Compulsory Attendance, Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 218222, October 2009.)
Political participation is also crucial for guaranteeing the legitimacy of a democratic regime. The more citizens
abstain, the more the elected bodies lose their accountability. To illustrate the problem one can refer to
elections where only a minority of the electorate determines the electoral result. In elections to the European
Parliament, for example, average turnout has declined systematically from 63% of all registered voters in 1979 to
a record low of 45.6% in 2004 (EP, 2004). As more than half of the electorate abstains in 18 of the 25 member
states, one can hardly speak of popular or majority will (Watson and Tami, 2001). As democracy cannot imply
that laws are enacted by legislators representing a minority of eligible voters, one has to conclude that high
turnout levels are necessary for any democracy claiming legitimacy.
Voter turnout is the miners canary for democracy without high voter turnout
democracies will collapse
Bart Engelen, Research Assistant of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Belgium), Centre for
Economics and Ethics Institute of Philosophy (K.U.Leuven), 2007, (Why Compulsory Voting Can
Enhance Democracy, Acta Politica, 2007, 42, (2339).)
I admit that this analysis of democracy is a purely procedural one and neglects fundamental aspects like the need
for a publicly agreed on constitution which protects individual rights from the tyranny of the majority. It is only
within such an institutional framework that democratic politics can function properly. With respect to
elections, however, I think it is best to trust each citizen to vote according to his opinions or preferences. This
forms a pragmatic way to guarantee that politics reflects the concerns of the population.3 My defense of the
democratic need for high turnout is thus purely instrumental: in general, the more citizens actually express
their needs, the better the regime will be able to take them into account. As a result of its link with crucial
democratic values, I consider voter turnout to be an adequate measure of the condition of electoral
democracies.4 As low turnout levels show that modern-day democracies are facing serious problems, I now
want to focus on what seems to be the most straightforward solution: compulsory voting. If citizens are
obliged to show up at polling stations, they are more likely to do so, since abstainers will be sanctioned. It must
be made clear that the term compulsory voting is actually a misnomer, since the secret ballot guarantees that
the right not to vote remains intact (Lijphart, 1998, 10). As citizens are obliged only to register their attendance
at the polling station, compulsory turnout (Keaney and Rogers, 2006, 26) is more accurate.5
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PART V: NEGATIVE
I negate the resolution that resolved: in a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory.
Observation 1: Voting ought to be compulsory is distinct from compulsory voting.
The resolution says that voting ought to be compulsory, not that the government ought to have a
system of compulsory voting.
This is an important distinction because compulsory voting systems do not require citizens to vote,
they only require compulsory attendance or turnout.
Bart Engelen, Professor at Catholic University in Belgium, 2009 (Why Liberals Can Favour Compulsory
Attendance, Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 218222, October 2009)
First, there is the secrecy of the ballot. As a matter of fact, compulsory voting is a misnomer. What is
made compulsory is not voting, but attendance at the polling station. All a citizen has to do to comply
is register his or her presence. The state has no control whatsoever over his or her choice inside the
voting booth. As long as the ballot is secret, voting simply cannot be made compulsory. In this sense,
it would be more accurate to speak of compulsory attendance or compulsory turnout. As Arendt
Lijphart (1998, p. 10) perhaps the best-known proponent of compulsory attendance rightly argues,
the secret ballot guarantees that the right not to vote remains intact. If a state not only obliges its
citizens to show up at elections but also to publicly express their vote, totalitarianism is lurking.
However, in each of the countries that implement such laws,1 the ballot's secrecy is guaranteed.
Affirmatives should have to defend that citizens ought to actually vote, not just turnout at the voting
station. This means that cases that stop short of saying thought voting ought to be compulsory, such
as contemporary systems that only mandate attendance, are negative ground. This creates the best
ground for debate because allowing affirmatives to run mandatory turnout cases and mandatory
voting cases usurps negative and increases the number of potential cases available to the affirmative,
which skews predictability and increases the negatives research burden.
Observation 2: The Resolution Is Limited By The Phrase In A Democracy.
This means that preserving democratic principles is paramount. Any policy or obligation that would
violate basic democratic principles must be excluded. Competing obligations must always side in favor
of the obligation that best preserves democracy.
Thus, my value is democratic legitimacy.
Legitimacy is the bedrock of any political organization and essential to the survival of all democracies
Jorge Aragon, Professor at Saint Louis University, 2008 (Political Legitimacy and Democracy,
Encyclopedia of Campaigns, Elections, and Electoral Behavior, pg 1-3)
The stability and functioning of any kind of political regimeincluding democratic or representative
onesrelies on the combination of the capacity of rulers and government officials to use coercion and
the development of political legitimacy. Political legitimacy can be described as peoples recognition
and acceptance of the validity of the rules of their entire political system and the decisions of their
rulers. Accordingly, two things can be expected from political systems that have a considerable level of
political legitimacy. First, these political systems will be more resilient to survive periods of crisis, and,
second, rulers and authorities will enjoy a fundamental condition needed to formulate and implement
policies in an effective manner (i.e., they will be able to make decisions and commit resources without
needing to obtain approval from the ruled and without resorting to coercion for every decision). The
issue of political legitimacy can therefore be considered to be of utmost importance in politics and
political analysis.
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In addition, the resolution asks us to determine whether or not voting ought to be compulsory, or
mandated. In order to answer this question, we should look to the impacts of compulsory voting to
determine if the obligation would have more favorable or harmful consequences for democratic
legitimacy.
Thus, my value-criterion will be consequentialism.
Consequentialism is the best means for determining whether or not compulsory voting best upholds
democratic legitimacy for several reasons:
1) Consequentialism is the most preferable weighing mechanism for informing governmental and
political actions. Utilitarian ethics, such as consequentialism, are necessary because the goal of the
government is to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people, while minimizing risk
to the individual.
2) All ethical and policy decisions devolve to consequentialist calculus because rights, policies, and
values inevitably conflict and it is necessary to look to the pros and cons to determine which ones take
priority.
In order to win this round I must prove that a system of compulsory attendance, which is
resolutionally distinct from compulsory voting, does more to guarantee democratic legitimacy than
compulsory voting.
Contention 1: Compulsory Attendance Policies Uphold Autonomy
Compulsory attendance does not violate freedom of choice and improves political participation, which
is essential to the democratic process and protecting autonomy
Bart Engelen, Research Assistant of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Belgium), Centre for
Economics and Ethics Institute of Philosophy (K.U.Leuven), 2009 (Why Liberals Can Favour
Compulsory Attendance, Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 218222, October 2009)
To conclude, I believe that Lever's liberal criticism of compulsory voting is misguided in two ways.
First, if understood correctly, compulsory voting or better, compulsory attendance does not
violate anyone's privacy, freedom of thought or freedom of speech. Second, the underlying liberal
idea that every citizen should be guaranteed an absolute freedom of choice including the choice not
to choose is problematic, because it thinks of any government intervention as an illegitimate
demand on its citizens. Lever's own juxtaposition of liberalism and democracy (Lever, 2008, p. 63) is
paradigmatic in this respect. It inhibits her from seeing that both the liberties of the moderns, such as
freedom of thought and speech, and the liberties of the ancients, such as political participation, are
essentially interwoven (Habermas, 1995, pp. 127129). Both liberalism and democracy are ultimately
grounded on and co-originate from the fundamental principle of mutual respect for each person as a
free and equal human being. Without individual rights and liberties, democracies continuously face
the threat of totalitarianism. However, without popular sovereignty guaranteed by a democracy in
which people participate in the decisions that will bind them individual rights and liberties remain
purely formal and empty. The basic insight that both elements are based on the same principle of
moral and political autonomy is shared by Rousseau, Kant, Mill, Rawls and Habermas. Lacroix (2007, p.
193) rightly stresses that political participation is crucial for any sensible liberal project that aims to
strive for liberty as autonomy, which does not mean the absence of law but rather the respect of the
laws that men have made and accepted for themselves. Instead of exclusively focusing on the
liberties of the moderns, like Lever does, I thus want to join Lacroix in stressing the liberties of the
ancients and the importance of effective political participation in any liberal democracy that values
self-determination. In this respect, I believe compulsory attendance should be conceived of as
enhancing rather than violating the basic liberal value of autonomy.
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Contention 2: Compulsory Attendance Improves Voter Turnout
Empirical studies demonstrate that compulsory attendance laws are a symbol that voting is important
and engenders civic duty even if enforcement is lax and exemptions are available
Bart Engelen, Research Assistant of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Belgium), Centre for
Economics and Ethics Institute of Philosophy (K.U.Leuven), 2009 (Why Liberals Can Favour
Compulsory Attendance, Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 218222, October 2009)
It may seem strange to defend compulsory attendance laws while stressing that their enforcement
should not be strict. Nevertheless, empirical research shows that compulsory attendance laws, even
when not actively enforced by means of harsh penalties, engender compliance. Turnout in countries
with no enforcement is about 6 per cent higher than in countries with no compulsory voting (IDEA,
2002, p. 110). Here, formal laws are mainly a symbolic reminder that going out to vote is desirable. As
such, they uphold the social norm and civic sense of duty to vote, which suggests that compulsory
voting is a cultural rather than legal phenomenon (Hill, 2002, p. 95). In short, compulsory voting can
... be very effective in raising turnout in spite of low penalties that are imposed for failing to vote
(usuallysimilar to a parking violation), in spite of the lax enforcement (usually much less stringent than
parking rules are enforced), and in spite of the secret ballot, which means that an actual vote cannot
be compelled in the first place (Lijphart, 1998, p. 2).
Thus, you vote negative because compulsory attendance policies solve the same contention level
benefits of the affirmative, such as democratic efficiency and voter turnout, while preserving
autonomy, which the affirmative violates by forcing citizens to vote against their wills.


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Compulsory Voting Leads To Invalid Ballots
Compulsory voting does not lead to voter sophistication those studies are flawed
and the electoral process is complicated by invalid ballots and protests to compulsory
voting
Simon Jackman, Assistant Professor and Victoria Schuck Faculty Scholar, Department of Political Science
at Stanford, 2001 (Compulsory Voting, to appear in the International Encyclopedia of the Social and
Behavioral Sciences, http://jackman.stanford.edu/papers/cv.pdf, accessed 7/1/2012)
One criticism of CV is that it compels the participation of disinterested and hence poorly informed
citizens who would otherwise abstain. A higher rate of invalid ballots (e.g., Tingsten 1937) and
donkey ballots (where voters simply select the candidate at the top of the ballot) are some of the
few consequences attributable to the mobilization of citizens with low levels of political interest or
sophistication. Moreover, some instances of these phenomena are protests against CV itself. Lijpharts
(1997, 10) takes a contrary position, suggesting that CV may serve as an incentive *for voters+ to
become better informed. A crossnational study by Gordon and Segura (1997) finds a small though
statistically significant increase in political sophistication in countries with CV, but otherwise, the
evidence for CV promoting greater civic awareness is scant.
Compulsory voting encourages random votes because people are forced to vote
against their will
IDEA, 2012 (Compulsory Voting, http://www.idea.int/vt/compulsory_voting.cfm)
Another consequence of mandatory voting is the possible high number of "random votes". Voters
who are voting against their free will may check off a candidate at random, particularly the top
candidate on the ballot. The voter does not care whom they vote for as long as the government is
satisfied that they fulfilled their civic duty. What effect does this immeasureable category of random
votes have on the legitimacy of the democratically elected government?
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Compulsory Voting Does Not Solve Partisanship
Political scientists agree that compulsory voting would not solve for partisanship in
the United States
Peter R. Orszag, vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on
Foreign Relations, and was President Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget, 2012
(Make Voting Mandatory, June 19, 2012, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-19/voting-
should-be-mandatory.html, accessed 6/25/2012)
Interestingly, political science literature has historically found more modest effects on election
outcomes in the U.S. from compulsory voting than one might think. Recent work by John Sides of
George Washington University and colleagues is consistent with previous research by Raymond
Wolfinger in finding little evidence that increased turnout would systematically transform partisan
competition or policy outcomes. This parrots the conventional wisdom among political scientists.
Proponents of compulsory voting are motivated by partisan interests they want to
increase control of the Democrats
Jonah Goldberg, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, June 27, 2012 (Voter Apathy
Isnt a Crime, National Review Online, http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/304018/voter-apathy-
isn-t-crime-jonah-goldberg)
This brings us to the cynicism of it all. While many political scientists and economists hold that
mandatory voting probably wouldnt change electoral outcomes, many people still believe that
compelling the poor, the uneducated, and the politically unengaged would be a boon to Democrats
(what that says about Democrats is for others to judge). I wonder: Would the winner of the ballot lottery
have to show a photo ID? Its hard to see how Orszag is interested in anything other than changing the
rules for his sides benefit. As Reason magazines Tim Cavanaugh notes, just last year Orszag argued
for taking some policymaking out of the hands of voters and empowering technocrats like him to
run the country. We need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions, Orszag explained, by
making them a bit less democratic. Ornstein and Mann, whose new book blames Republicans for all
thats wrong in Washington, make a slightly different argument. They claim that coerced voting would
revive the political center by reducing the influence of activists and ideologues. Ultimately, this is a
more sophisticated way of making the same argument. They do not like the way conservatives have
been winning battles in Washington. Forcing people to vote, they hope, would put an end to that.
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Compulsory Voting Hurts Policymaking
Turn: Compulsory voting creates a race to the middle situation where politicians are
afraid to offend the population, leading to governance through polling and increasing
disillusionment
Lydia Bevege, Development Coordinator for the Australian Institute of Public Affairs, June 10, 2012
(Should voting be compulsory? Sun Herald, http://www.ipa.org.au/sectors/ideas-
liberty/news/2681/should-voting-be-compulsory-)
It's also likely that compulsory voting has a negative impact on politicians. Though we're told
compulsory voting forces our politicians to appeal to the entire electorate, in reality it encourages
them to adopt stances that will offend the least number of people. As a result, politicians embrace the
policy-by-focus group approach to governance. This approach has led to unprecedented
disillusionment with the political process by voters. And with electronic voting potentially around the
corner, gone could be the days when you could scribble "none of the above" on your ballot paper, or
even just fold it up blank and pop it into the ballot box. Voters could be forced to submit a valid vote by
numbering all the boxes before a computer will accept their vote.
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Compulsory Voting Does Not Uphold Democratic Legitimacy
Compulsory voting cannot be justified using liberal philosophy the role of national
elections in preserving democracy is negligible
Annabelle Lever, Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation, The University of Manchester Law
School, 2009 (Liberalism, Democracy, and the Ethics of Voting, Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 223
227, October 2009)
But rather than clarifying my critique of Lacroix, it may be more helpful to clarify my reasons for thinking
that compulsory voting is generally at odds with democratic government. My views are the result of
prior research on the secret ballot, which first made me realise how complicated the ethics of voting are
far more complex, in fact, than I had assumed (Lever, 2007a). My research on judicial review, on
feminism and on privacy and democracy suggests that we often exaggerate the importance of national
elections to democratic theory and practice (Lever, 2005, 2006, 2007b, 2009a, 2009b and 2010).
Consequently, I believe that efforts to justify compulsory voting whether in liberal egalitarian terms,
as with Lacroix, or more social democratic ones, as with Arend Lijphart (1997) or Emily Keaney and Ben
Rogers (2006) overstate the importance of electoral participation to democratic conceptions of
politics, and understate the complexity of democratic morality.
Voter turnout does not solve for democratic legitimacy
Annabelle Lever, Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation, The University of Manchester Law
School, 2009 (Liberalism, Democracy, and the Ethics of Voting, Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 223
227, October 2009)
Democracy means that we are entitled to participate in politics freely and as equals. However, this
does not mean that we must exercise our political rights, however important it is that we should have
them; nor does it require us to consider electoral politics more important than other endeavours. In
established democracies, our political rights help to protect our interests in political participation
whether or not we actually exercise them. Likewise, we need not refuse, accept or offer to marry
someone in order for our right to marry to be valuable and valued. Rights can protect our interests,
then, even if we do not use them. For example, they make certain practical possibilities unthinkable.
Most of the time we never consider killing others in order to get our way; nor do they consider killing us.
So, while it is true that democracy requires people to be willing and able to vote, the empirics of
legitimacy, as well as its theory, make turnout a poor proxy for legitimacy or for faith in democratic
government (Lever 2009a and 2010).

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Compulsory Voting Does Not Uphold Democratic Legitimacy
Compulsory voting does not uphold democratic legitimacy just because voting or
democracy is a public good, it does not mean that participation is obligatory
Annabelle Lever, Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation, The University of Manchester Law
School, 2009 (Liberalism, Democracy, and the Ethics of Voting, Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 223
227, October 2009)
We can put the point more sharply. The idea that non-voters are free-riders assumes that voting is a
collective good whether because high levels of turnout are necessary to democratic legitimacy or for
some other reason. But this begs the question of whether high levels of turnout are a collective good.
Turnout has partisan effects. So even if some level of turnout is a public good, voting is not a pure
public good as long as it has some bearing on who wins or loses an election. To suppose that people
are morally wrong to abstain therefore requires us to assume that the co-operative aspect of voting is
more important than the competitive. This is not a conceptual truth about elections, and may be false
normatively and empirically (Lever, 2009a and 2010). We cannot evade the complexity of democratic
politics and morality, then, by insisting that democratic elections are a public good. Indeed they are.
But this no more requires us to vote than it requires us to join a political party or to stand for election
ourselves. A sufficient range and quality of parties and leaders is a prerequisite for democratic
legitimacy and, offhand, seems at least as important as ensuring a sufficient quantity and quality of
voter participation.2 Moreover, morality sometimes requires people to assume positions of
leadership and responsibility that they would otherwise choose to forgo. Nonetheless, it is incredibly
difficult to get from the idea that we may sometimes have such duties to the conclusion that we
actually do have such duties.
Compulsory voting laws are used by political parties to gain power- they dont
improve the health of a democracy
Bonnie Meguid, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester, Is Mandatory
Voting a Good Idea?, New York Times, November 13, 2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/opinion/is-mandatory-voting-a-good-idea.html?_r=1.
William A. Galston correctly notes that compulsory voting laws increase voter turnout rates. But he
leaves largely unexamined another significant and not politically neutral effect of these laws:
compulsory voting increases the vote share of parties whose voters would otherwise tend to abstain.
Indeed, most of the democratic countries that adopted compulsory voting laws including Australia
in 1924 did so less for the idealistic reasons of increasing turnout, as Mr. Galston suggests, and more
to shore up the vote share of their particular governing parties. That the vote boost from compulsory
voting helps some parties and hurts others may explain why it is unlikely to be supported by
American parties across the political spectrum.

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Compulsory Voting Does Not Uphold Fairness Or Reciprocity
Non-voters are not free-riders compulsory voting laws do not uphold fairness or
reciprocity
Annabelle Lever, Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation, The University of Manchester Law
School, 2009 (Liberalism, Democracy, and the Ethics of Voting, Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 223
227, October 2009)
These, in brief, are my reasons for doubting that democratic norms support compulsory voting. But
what about norms of fairness or reciprocity? We have duties of fairness and reciprocity whether or
not we are citizens. If these imply that people who are entitled to vote should vote, we would have a
remarkably robust justification for compulsory voting; one largely independent of our assumptions
about political morality. But is non-voting the equivalent of free-riding, or of unfairly seeking to
benefit from the efforts and sacrifices of others? Political realism suggests that it is not. Whatever is
wrong with not voting, it cannot be that non-voters are selfishly exploiting the idealism, energy and
public-spirited efforts of the BNP and their ilk. This is not because the latter are evidently more self-
interested than other voters. Whether they are or not is an empirical question. The problem, rather, is
that we are entitled to refuse, and actively to oppose, the benefits that the BNP seeks to promote.
Non-voters, then, are not exploiting the BNP. Nor are they exploiting self-interested voters, however
respectable and democratic the parties for which they voted. It is not obvious, either, that they are
exploiting altruistic voters simply because they are not helping them. So, reflection on how and why
people vote casts doubt on the idea that non-voters are selfishly preying on the public-spirited efforts of
voters (Lever 2009a and 2010). When abstention is morally wrong, therefore, this seems to be because
of its consequences for those who are incapable of voting whether because they are too old, too
young, because they are foreign, not yet born and so on rather than because it is unfair to
compatriots who voted.
Increasing voter turnout does not solve the root cause it would increase voter
disillusionment because it would remind voters how little their vote counts.
Eric Rosenbloom, science editor and writer Kirby Mountain (k-12 Textbook publisher), Is Mandatory
Voting a Good Idea?, New York Times, November 13, 2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/opinion/is-mandatory-voting-a-good-idea.html?_r=1.
William A. Galston (Telling Americans to Vote, or Else, Sunday Review, Nov. 6) might have it backward
regarding the cause and effect between low voter turnout and political polarization. Many countries
have fiercely polarized politics along with high voter turnout. The difference that Mr. Galston missed is
that the American system inevitably ensures both polarization and low participation. Without a
parliamentary system, our winner-take-all politics means that most votes are indeed meaningless. For
most people, voting does not lead to a greater sense of participation in government, but rather
reminds them over and over that their voices are not represented. The problem is not voter
turnout. It is a system of government that can never be responsive to the majority of its citizens.
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Compulsory Voting Does Not Increase Political Engagement
Empirically, compulsory voting does not increase political engagement some people
just do not care about politics and their inclusion does not improve democracy
Lydia Bevege, Development Coordinator for the Australian Institute of Public Affairs, June 10, 2012
(Should voting be compulsory? Sun Herald, http://www.ipa.org.au/sectors/ideas-
liberty/news/2681/should-voting-be-compulsory-)
The biggest myth in this debate is that Australia's system of compulsory voting is normal. Forcing our
citizens to vote in every state and federal election is not normal. Virtually no other democracies in the
world do it. Australia's compulsory voting laws are coercive and paternalistic, and they are out of step
with the majority of developed countries, including the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand. People
who support our current system claim that we have to force citizens to vote otherwise they might lose
interest in the political process. The reality is that, compulsory voting or not, some people just don't
care much about politics. Australian democracy is not enhanced by forcing these people to express an
opinion on parties and candidates they dislike.
Turn: Making voting more difficult increases its value and leads to a better quality of
elections
Jonah Goldberg, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, June 27, 2012 (Voter Apathy
Isnt a Crime, National Review Online, http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/304018/voter-apathy-
isn-t-crime-jonah-goldberg)
Its an unfashionable thing to say, but if anything, voting should be harder, not easier. Scarcity creates
value. Sand is cheap because theres so much of it. Gold is valuable because it is rare. If you want
people to value their vote, we should make it more valuable. Personally, I wouldnt mind tying
eligibility to vote to passing the same citizenship test we require of immigrants. We might get fewer
voters, but the voters would be far more likely to appreciate the solemnity of their ballots. But such
proposals just elicit rage from people who love democracy albeit only when theyre winning.
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Compulsory Voting Does Not Increase Civic Engagement
Recent proponents of compulsory voting are cynical the core of civic participation is
voluntarism, which is destroyed by forcing people to vote against their will
Jonah Goldberg, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, June 27, 2012 (Voter Apathy
Isnt a Crime, National Review Online, http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/304018/voter-apathy-
isn-t-crime-jonah-goldberg)
That might explain the renewed interest in forcing people to vote against their will. Peter Orszag,
President Obamas former budget director and now a vice chairman at Citigroup, recently wrote a
column for Bloomberg View arguing for making voting mandatory. Hes not alone. Icons of the Beltway
establishment Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann also favor the idea. As does William Galston, a
former advisor to President Clinton. (Mann and Galston are scholars at the liberal Brookings Institution;
Ornstein is a colleague of mine at the American Enterprise Institute.) While I have great respect for
Ornstein, Mann, and Galston Im undecided about Orszag I find the idea absurd, cynical, and
repugnant. Lets start with the repugnant part. One of the chief benefits of coerced voting, according
to Orszag, is that it increases participation. Well, yes, and kidnapping drunks in pubs increased the
ranks of the British navy, but it didnt turn the conscripted sailors into patriots. I think everyone can
agree that civic virtue depends on civic participation. Well, any reasonable understanding of civic
participation has to include the idea of voluntarism. If I force you to do the right thing against your
will, you dont get credit for doing the right thing.

The claim that Australians are not forced to vote under their system of compulsory
voting is false Everyone is forced to vote, which turns people off of wanting to
participate in politics
Lydia Bevege, Development Coordinator for the Australian Institute of Public Affairs, June 10, 2012
(Should voting be compulsory? Sun Herald, http://www.ipa.org.au/sectors/ideas-
liberty/news/2681/should-voting-be-compulsory-)
Rejecting all candidates on the ballot paper and staying at home on election day is a legitimate
democratic expression that Australians do not have the right to exercise. We are all forced to vote
because other people have decided that we ought to be involved in the political process. Lots of
people claim that Australians are not actually compelled to vote. They say all we are required to do is
show up at a polling place and have our names marked off. They are wrong. The Commonwealth
Electoral Act says it is our duty to vote, not just to show up. People who support compulsory voting
argue that we should be compelled to vote to stop us from becoming politically disengaged. But on
the other hand, they defend their stance by saying that Australians aren't technically forced to vote.
They're telling us we don't have to vote while frog-marching us into the polling booth.

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Removing The Secret Ballot Solves Voter Turnout
Removing the secret ballot or at least posting who votes will shame citizens into
citizens and appeal to their civic duty
Sasha Issenberg, July/August 2012 (Abolish the Secret Ballot, The Atlantic, July/August, 2012.,
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/abolish-the-secret-ballot/9038/)
For the United States first century, Americans elected their leaders in full view of their neighbors,
gathering on courthouse steps to announce their votes orally or hand a distinctive preprinted ballot or
unfolded marked paper to a clerk. Such a public process made elections ripe for bribes and threats,
although the scene around American polling places never matched Australias, where a population of
criminals and goldbugs made electoral intimidation something of a democratic pastime. To end such
shenanigans, each of Australias colonies began shifting to a secret ballot during the 1850s, and in 1872
England followed suit. A decade and a half later, the reform crossed the Atlantic. Louisville, Kentucky,
enacted a so-called Australian ballot in 1888, and 32 states did the same by 1892over the objections
of machine politicians. By the turn of the century, most of the country had changed the public
spectacle of Election Day into a solemn occasion for curtained isolation. This shift coincided with a
dramatic drop in turnout rates, from nearly 80 percent of the eligible population in 1896which had
been typical for the erato 65 percent eight years later. They have never recovered, falling to around
50 percent in 1996. As modern civic activists have tried to increase turnout, their focus has been on
reducing the hassle of participation. The most-successful reforms of the past decade, howeverearly
in-person voting, no excuse absentee ballots, elections entirely by mailappear not to have lured new
people to the polls so much as merely made it more convenient for regular voters to cast their ballots.
What actually works is mimicking some part of the 19th centurys surveillance culture. The most
effective tool for turning nonvoters into voters10 times better than the typical piece of preelection
mail, according to a 2006 Michigan experimentis a threat to send neighbors evidence of ones
apathy. Other experiments have found gentler approaches that serve a similar function: merely
reminding citizens that whether they cast a ballot is a matter of public record, or promising to print
the names of those who do in a postelection newspaper ad, can boost turnout too. By introducing
shame into the calculus of citizenship, the researchers behind these tests increased the psychological
cost of not voting. In so doing, they restored the sensesadly lost for a centurythat voting ought to
be not a personal act but a social one.