A case against compulsory voting and for pre-qualifying voters

Yes granted the following is from the US.  But equally it would not be surprising if there is a not insignificant proportion of people in Australia who think similarly.  And they not only vote but are required to vote.

The following is from a 32-year-old white man from Massachusetts who works in publishing.  (Note the importance of identifying race and gender)

Democracy is pretty overrated. I would be totally content with a benevolent oligarchy making policy decisions for me. I’m not an expert in medicine, so I don’t decide who gets to be a doctor, and I’m not an expert in engine repair, so I don’t decide who gets to be a mechanic. Since I’m also not an expert in government, so why insist that I decide who governs me?

As Americans, we are so thoroughly conditioned to hold voting rights sacred and to insist that we have a say in our government. I think we’d all be a lot happier if we worried less about who was running for what office and let someone else make those decisions for us, but to a lot of people that sounds downright un-American.

Cats may recall a recent survey done by the CIS that found that

almost two thirds (of Millennials) agreed that “Capitalism has failed and government should exercise more control of the economy”.

If this is not a reason to end compulsory voting and for introducing voter pre-qualification, TAFKAS does not know what is.  If there is a test that must be passed before qualifying for citizenship then certainly there can be a test that must be passed before being allowed to vote.

And even better, can we have a test that must be passed before being allowed to nominate for political office.  Let’s start with english, maths, civics and history.

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41 Responses to A case against compulsory voting and for pre-qualifying voters

  1. stackja

    Nice ideas. Won’t happen. Particularly with ALP/Greens, who rely on vote early, vote often, and low information MSM consumers and union officials transitioning into parliament.

  2. Ben

    Agree with political qualification criteria. I would extend that to ongoing education and training, with competency assessment. I accept that voters assess competency and give a mark at the polls, but I’m steering towards politicians being given portfolios with no idea what they are talking about e.g. electricity, education, health, defence.

  3. stackja

    Ben
    #2979984, posted on April 5, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Shadow Minister for Education and Training Shadow Minister for Women Hon Tanya Plibersek MP.

    Michael Coutts-Trotter is an Australian public servant who is the current director-general of the New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services. He was previously the director-general of the Departments of Education and Training and Finance and Services. Wikipedia

  4. Karabar

    What sort of criteria would be applied relative to an appropriate qualification to vote?

    voteflux.org

  5. Buccaneer

    Who might get to determine what is in the test?

  6. struth

    almost two thirds (of Millennials) agreed that “Capitalism has failed and government should exercise more control of the economy”.

    If this is not a reason to end compulsory voting and for introducing voter pre-qualification, TAFKAS does not know what is.

    Yes it is a reason to end compulsory voting, but still, this is the real problem with the young’ns.

    almost two thirds (of recently brainwashed children) agreed that “Capitalism has failed and government should exercise more control of the economy”.

    It’s their teachers talking………………………………………

    hmmm…………….

  7. Karabar – you beat me to it. TAFKAS what is that criteria beyond literacy?
    Evidently your seeking some modicum of common sense or perspective surrounding the purpose, history and need of democracy. Surely your not envisioning something as brutally obvious if you lean to socialism or Marxism that you immediately disqualify yourself from voting.

  8. Tim Neilson

    Agree with political qualification criteria. I would extend that to ongoing education and training, with competency assessment. I accept that voters assess competency and give a mark at the polls, but I’m steering towards politicians being given portfolios with no idea what they are talking about e.g. electricity, education, health, defence.

    I strongly agree with your concerns about politicians with no idea about their portfolio but worry about how to fix that.

    What do you think the criteria for running for office should be? We’d need to be vigilant not to get credentialists get hold of it. Imagine if a political science degree was a prerequisite. Think of what “journalism” degrees have done to journalism.

    My qualification for running for office would be a minimum age qualification and a requirement that the candidate have spent at least some minimum period not being supported directly or indirectly by the government (with perhaps some exceptions like military service) and not involved in grievance mongering/lobbyist/political media activities (e.g. trade union official or equivalent crony capitalist lobbyist or so-called “political commentator”).

  9. Tezza

    From the underlying article:

    CM: How would we select these people?

    Matt: Boy, I don’t know if I’ve thought that deeply about that.

    Clearly a moron.

  10. Fred

    Slippery slope.

    Bring in voter-qualification and you might find that you are not qualified as your views are offensive and /or divisive.

    You should never support laws that your opponents can use against you.

  11. If you don’t know who your local member and the head of government is, then maybe you don’t make the cut.

  12. struth

    It’s ministers that are the problem, and sole because government is too influential and controlling.

    Politicians, in our system, aren’t supposed to think for themselves, and we only have problems when they do.
    They are supposed to be representatives, messengers, “runners” if you will, relaying the will of their electorate to the parliament.

    O K!

    Stop laughing.

    No seriously, stop laughing.

  13. stackja

    Liberty Quote
    … after a succession of governments intent on proving that their word is their junk bond, any voters who aren’t jaded should have their pulse checked.

    — Henry Ergas

  14. Roger

    If there is a test that must be passed before qualifying for citizenship then certainly there can be a test that must be passed before being allowed to vote.

    How about being a net tax payer?

    Skin in the game.

  15. John A

    struth #2980019, posted on April 5, 2019, at 11:16 am

    It’s ministers that are the problem, and sole because government is too influential and controlling.

    Politicians, in our system, aren’t supposed to think for themselves, and we only have problems when they do.

    This problem was identified in the 19th century by Messrs Gilbert & Sullivan:

    “I always voted at my party’s call/and never thought of thinking for myself at all”
    Sir Joseph Porter KCB First Lord of the Admiralty in HMS Pinafore.

  16. wal1957

    And even better, can we have a test that must be passed before being allowed to nominate for political office. Let’s start with english, maths, civics and history.

    How about we also have minimum age and work experience requirements as well.
    We are currently being governed by a cross section of lawyers. How does this represent the people?

  17. Bruce of Newcastle

    We should keep compulsory voting. However there should be a box on every ballot paper called “None of the Above” with no preferences flowing from it.

    Exhausting should be adopted for Federal elections as it has been in NSW state elections. That lets you vote for someone but not be forced to vote for someone else.

  18. Destroyer D69

    Educate the masses about HOW to make their vote count. Use the system to be as sure as possible that the result is the way you would prefer. For example, In the Senate vote…. secs 268(A) and 269 state that a vote of 6 squares below the line OR 1 square above the line is an alternative to the instructions on the ballot paper for a vote to be FORMAL. This option is not identified if you do the practice vote on the AEC website…WHY?????

  19. candy

    I used to be against non-compulsory voting but I am in favour of it now.

    What is the point of forcing people to vote who simply don’t care, put anything on the voting slip or just copy the last or brightest HTV pamphlet they were given. And if the government they get is not to their liking, they will take an interest and make sure to vote next time around. The choice is theirs.

  20. Destroyer D69

    For Bruce of Newcastle,
    “”Exhausting should be adopted for Federal elections as it has been in NSW state elections. That lets you vote for someone but not be forced to vote for someone else.””
    This option is available in the Senate vote,you have the options of only marking one square above the line or a minimum of six squares below the line for the vote to be formal. See sec 268(A) an 269 of the Electoral act to confirm this. However it is YOUR vote and you you decide how to mark the paper.

  21. Derp

    Your case could be a thing of perfection and it still wouldn’t matter a fig.
    It won’t change while the main political parties benefit from the current system.

  22. Anthony

    A counter argument is that the bigger a sample size, the more likely a group of voters is to choose the better candidate.

    A more alarming counter argument would be that once those with totalitarian tendencies get into power they would figure out a way to make everyone here ineligible. It would be pretty easy, a few commenters here have voiced support for Senator Anning and his views, that support could end you up on a list (of say white nationalist terror supporters etc) and its a short bow if everyone else here ends up on that same list. Then everyone on that list disqualified from voting.

  23. Bruce of Newcastle

    Destroyer – Unfortunately I can’t do that in the Reps. If a candidate from say AC or SFF stands in my electorate and I vote for them I must give a preference to one of the big parties. Because based on their policies I cannot in conscience do that my only other alternative is to vote informal, which is unfair to the AC or SFF.

  24. Dianeh

    I’m not an expert in medicine, so I don’t decide who gets to be a doctor, and I’m not an expert in engine repair, so I don’t decide who gets to be a mechanic. Since I’m also not an expert in government, so why insist that I decide who governs me?

    The guy is a moron. Yes, he doesn’t get decide who is a doctor or a mechanic but he sure as hell gets to decide who is his doctor or mechanic. Exactly the same as getting to decide (at least having some input) into who their representative is. Maybe he wants his doctor and mechanic appointed for him and he would have no choice.

    And a big no to compulsory voting.

  25. Bruce

    The proposal that to be eligible to vote, one must first do a minimum of three years “service”, either military or actual “social’, has some merit. The concept of “compulsory” military service in peace-time is a double-edged sword regarding defence capability. If a significant proportion of “eligible citizens” is so scummy that they are a menace to good order, and function of said military, the country is probably stuffed already.

    There seems to be an endless parade of taxpayer funded “civil aid” projects, so why not send “conscientious objectors” to them for their “service” requirement? But first, cull out the current SJW types who seem to infest many of these projects.

    There needs to be a VALID option on EVERY ballot paper marked “NONE OF THE ABOVE or BELOW (for the traditional donkey voters). regardless of who the party machines throw up, so to speak. If NO SUITABLE CANDIDATE PRESENTED is made a LEGAL polling option, there MAY be some pulling up of socks. Add the twist that if that option gets more than 20% of the primary vote and, say 40% after “preferences”, the poll is null and void, the decks are cleared and the parties and punters get to explore “democracy” once more, with feeling.

    Finally, the reason many people cannot name their local, state and / or Feral “representative” seems to have a lot to do with the common observation that so many of the type are utter non-entities (NPCs in current parlance) and are thus best kept at a mental “arm’s length”. Like a vampire variation; they seem to spend TOO MUCH time looking in real and “virtual” mirrors and the rest avoiding the sanitizing effect of “sunlight”.

  26. Percy Popinjay

    Maybe he wants his doctor and mechanic appointed for him and he would have no choice.

    Jayant Patel, come on down!

  27. stevem

    Unfortunately I can name my “representative” who is not wanted by the party in his own seat yet was pushed in by the powers that be: Trent Zimmerman

  28. Cementafriend

    Disagree! With optional voting one gets the likes of H*tler, Maduro, Magabe, Putin elected. Research the election of H*tler. He stopped many voting, forced some to vote for him, organised multi voting etc. Multiple voting and organised voting occurs here with the unions supporting the ALP. With optional voting at the present time all you would get is socialist governments as throughout Europe. Of course that is what the unions and the ALP and Greens want.

  29. TBH

    Democracy is pretty overrated. I would be totally content with a benevolent oligarchy making policy decisions for me. I’m not an expert in medicine, so I don’t decide who gets to be a doctor, and I’m not an expert in engine repair, so I don’t decide who gets to be a mechanic. Since I’m also not an expert in government, so why insist that I decide who governs me?

    Is this guy for fucking real? Hasn’t the experiment in the above type of government in the Eastern Bloc, parts of South America and Asia over the last century taught anyone anything? Yes, let’s have unelected bureaucrats decide everything for us. Democratic and representative government is far from perfect and we mostly hate our politicians and even showing up to vote, but the alternative is far, far worse.

  30. forced some to vote for him

    That’s the important part.

  31. JohnL

    And even better, can we have a test that must be passed before being allowed to nominate for political office.

    The test, better call it a condition, would be very simple. If you are a plumber, carpenter, electrician (e.g. Doug the Scotsman), or a cleaning lady etc. you will receive the remuneration that you received before entering the Crazy House in Canberra.
    If you were a professional e.g. a doctor, engineer, nuclear scientist etc. you will be remunerated accordingly.
    If you are a lawyer (they should be banned but this is a democracy) you would receive remuneration of junior entry level at xyz law firm.
    No big white cars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Let’s see how many would apply!?!?

  32. Phill

    Following on from Bruce’s point above, his approach is a large part of of the backstory of Robert Heinlein’s book “Starship Troopers”. The model of government in the book is that only citizens get to vote, and the test for citizenship is to demonstrate a sense of duty. The only way to do that is to volunteer for military service. That military service would allocate you to tasking according to your ability. Examples in the book ranged from “Mobile Infantry” (very dangerous) down to “counting the hairs on caterpillars”. In either case, you were demonstrating a sense of duty where you placed your life at risk at the point when you volunteered. Once your service was completed, you became a citizen with the right to vote. Of course, only citizens could become politicians.

    Great story (the book I mean, not so much the movie based on the book). However, to arrive at that social construct required a revolution, led by armed veterans, who were generally pissed that all decisions were being made folks whose loyalties and duties were not to society, but to some other entity such as party, ideology or other cause. In other words, they did away with the SJW types, and remade society so that a proven sense duty was the only valid qualification for social decision making.

    I have to admit that this is a scenario that I find attractive. It seems to get to the heart of what is wrong with the vanilla democracy we practice today. Many politicians and voters make their decisions with no sense of duty or loyalty to the body politic they pretend to rule.

    However, as a guest of the Doomlord here, extending the discussion to identifying any specific types that have “got to go”, with the inherent risk of calling out specific cats, would I think be bad manners. Besides, its only a story. Isn’t it?

  33. Look at the Australian Army intake now and look at the leadership.

    Be careful of what you wish for.

  34. Dr Fred Lenin

    You import hundreds of thousands of illiterate peasants from dysfunctional countries , give them cheap housing and generous welfare,make them citizens and show them how to vote alp,then continuity and political stability is assured for the career polliemuppets . Simple innit?

  35. Bruce

    Thought for the Afternoon:

    You can vote for the same promises.
    You can vote for the same parties.
    You can vote for the same people.
    You can do all things you’ve always done.
    You can expect different results.
    (Sounds like the definition of madness).

    Or you do something different.

  36. Bruce

    Phill:

    Gilbert and Sullivan covered that nicely: “A More Humane Mikado” Skip forward to 3:16)

    http://www.loop-the-game.com/scoop/2015/12/1/elliptical-billiard-balls

    See also: (I’ve got a Little List)

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Gilbert+and+Sullivan%3a+I%27ve+got+a+little+list+performance&&view=detail&mid=4CEF1D7962EB9C6481424CEF1D7962EB9C648142&rvsmid=1D509DA7A9603AD60B2C1D509DA7A9603AD60B2C&FORM=VDQVAP

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Gilbert+and+Sullivan%3a+I%27ve+got+a+little+list+performance&&view=detail&mid=1D509DA7A9603AD60B2C1D509DA7A9603AD60B2C&&FORM=VDRVRV

    There have been many “alternate” versions, adapted for the times and venues.

    Come to think of it, I don’t think I have heard the “original” lyrics for forty years!

    Hmmmm… Might be time for an Australian non-pinko update of the lyrics…

  37. Rohan

    Bruce, vote donkey? None of the uniparty are deserving of my vote.

  38. Richard Bender

    We already requirements that must be satisfied before you can vote: you must be at least 18 years old and be an Australian citizen (or, in certain circumstances if you arrived in Australia before 1986, a British subject). No further qualification is needed unless you are an authoritarian fuckwit who won’t truck anyone who disagrees with you.

  39. What is authoritarian about restricting franchise? Serious question; given, as you say, it is already restricted.

    Why is your preferred rule the best?

    What is onerous, oppressive or authoritarian about making voting voluntary and asking who the sitting local member and chief of government is?

  40. Sam Duncan

    “I would be totally content with a benevolent oligarchy making policy decisions for me.”

    Move to the EU. You’ll soon change your mind.

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