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Compulsory voting in India

The grassroot and most important function of democracy is right to vote. But the basic problem
is people don't take this seriously and only few percentage of them exercise this right. .
Compulsory voting was first advocated by Alfred Deaking at the turn of the 20th century. Voting
was voluntary at the first federal elections. Compulsory enrolment for federal elections was
introduced in 1911. In 1915, consideration was given to introduce compulsory voting for a
proposed referendum. As the referendum was never held the idea wasnt pursued.

The significant impetus for compulsory voting at federal elections appears to have been a decline
in turnout from more than 71% at the 1919 election to less than 60% at the 1922 election. In
1924, a private members bill to amend the Electoral Act was introduced in the Senate by Senator
H.J.M. Payne (Nat Tas). It was only the third private members bill passed into law since 1901.
The impact was immediate, with turnout at the 1925 election rising to over 91% Victoria
introduced compulsory voting in 1926, NSW and Tas Mania in 1928. WA in 1936, SA in 1942
when enrolment and voting at federal elections was introduced for Australian Aborigines in 1949
it was voluntary, and continued to be so untill 1984 when enrolment and voting became
compulsory for all eligible electors.
According to Athenian democracy every citizen had to vote but the participation was voluntary.
The low turnout sometimes resulted in social disgrace for those who din't vote.
Gujarat makes voting compulsory in municipality corporation, municipality and panchayat polls.
The bill was approved by gujarat governor O.P Kohli. According to media reports gujarat is stated
to become the "first state " to make voting compulsory. Gujarats compulsory voting legislation
was first passed by the state assembly in December 2009. It was returned for reconsideration in
April 2010 by the then Gujarat governor, Kamla Beniwal. The Gujarat government passed it
again for a second time in March 2011. But the governor refused to approve it yet again. And it
lay gathering dust in Gujarats Raj Bhavan until mid-2014. After the election NDA was placed at
center and removed Baniwal from governorship and appointed Kohli as new governor who gave
the approval for the bill. Honourable PM Narendra Modi also expressed his view regarding
making it compulsory in all over India.

A duty to our country?

Voting is a civic duty.
Whereas it would probably be true that most citizens feel they have an obligation to their country
with regard to supporting its defence or maintaining the public treasury. One must be careful to
discriminate between doing something which is for the country but in effect would only
advantage certain politicians.
Is voting actually a value?
In short obligations may be imposed on an individual for the benefit of the society generally.
If one were asked to man a polling booth on election day, this would unequivocally constitute a
service for the sake of democracy, but it is a different matter to claim that voting itself is a
democratic service. An obligation must be directed towards a benefit. If a person has an
obligation then it is an obligation to present to the beneficiary what the beneficiary sees as a
A vote can only be of a value if it produces some tangible benefit. It certainly is of a value to a
person who wants to vote but from the point of view of the country although the extra vote may
direct the result one way or the other, the vote in itself, is meaningless. To vote, prerequisite
knowledge is not needed.
An election is generally no right or wrong result; there is only the result that people want. Yes
there are also expectations to manage the ever going problems. But even then one would demand
encouraging people who were not sure to abstain from having an influence. People thinking they
have the solution may not guarantee but they will certainly provide a better result than those who
have spent next to no time considering the issues.

Voter apathy:-
It is perceived apathy among voters in an election. Voter apathy or lack of interest is often cited as
a cause of low turnout among eligible voters in jurisdictions where voting is optional and the
donkey vote where voting is compulsory. A related term voter fatigue describes a possible cause
of voter apathy elections that are held too frequently.

Pros of compulsory voting:-

It will reduce the cost of elections.

It will reduce the role of black money in elections.

It will draw in neutral voters.

It makes the voter exercise his potical choice to the fullest by going for the option NOTA

It is a civic duty compared to all other duties a citizen performs.

Parliament reflects more accurately the will of the electorate.

Candidates can concentrate on their campaigning rather than encouraging voters to attend the

The voter isnt actually compelled to vote because voting is by secret ballot.

Cons of compulsory voting:-

It is undemocratic to force people to vote and is an infringement of liberty.
The ignorant and those with little interest in politics are forced to the polls.

It may increase the number of donkey votes.

It may increase the number of informal votes.

It increases the number of safe , single member electorates-political parties then concentrate
on the more marginal electorates.

Resources must be allocated to determine whether those who failed to vote have valid and
sufficient reasons.

My views:-
According to me voting should be compulsory. Our country is the largest democracy in the world
but what is the use if the right, the freedom is not utilized by the fellow citizens. The ones who
say they arent interested in the polls should immediately leave the country as no one can be so
immune to the place they are living in. Of course they should take part actively. The people
complaining about the leaders and politics being a dirty trap absolutely dont have the right to say
a word if they are not participating in the polls and fulfilling their duty. I request all the citizens to
think from their heart and vote when they are legible to so that India can grow up to be what our
current prime minister promises it to be.
Compulsory in Australia
The Australian electoral system has evolved over 150 years of democratic government, including
through the Australian Parliament, instituted in 1901. The present-day federal parliament has
numerous different features including compulsory voting, with full-preferential instant-runoff
voting in single-member seats to elect the lower house, the House of Representatives, and the use
of group-ticket, single-transferable proportional voting to elect the upper house, the Senate. The
policy has increased voter turnout by 24 percentage points which inturn increased the voteshares
and seat shares of the Labor Party by 7-10 percentage points. Australia's adoption of this policy
increased the turnout significantly at national level.
Legal aspect
Legal aspect of this system brings to our notice that those who will not vote, a strict legal
punishment will be given or a fine would be charge. This legal actions directly or indirectly hits
the poor. As some daily waged labourer often migrate for work and compulsory voting as a result
will hit on him as a matter of his per day wage which he will have to forego.