Don’t Vote!

Both the USA and Canada have an election coming up fast, and when my buddy Todd posted this on his blog, I thought it was worth re-posting here: it’s a great video. I have a pretty simple attitude about voting: unless I vote, I don’t have a right to complain about things that the government does, because if I don’t vote, I give up my right to do so. So Canadians, Americans, vote! It doesn’t matter to me who anyone votes for, but voting as an act should be a non-negotiable act for anyone living in a democracy.

  • chrisgohlke

    Agreed, the low levels of voter turnout here are an absolute embarrassment.

  • Just out of interest, would you prefer to see voting made compulsory for all citizens and PRs? That’s how it is in Australia – and I have to say, after every election, there’s a sense of satisfaction knowing that the country as a whole has voiced their opinion on who should lead next.

  • D’oh. Ignore my first sentence, Jason. Just realised you already answered it toward the end of your blog post.

  • Darius,
    I guess it depends on the penalty for not voting – as in, how to they enforce the voting? I think living in a democracy means that people have the freedom to NOT vote, but maybe there’s some balance that could be achieved in terms of encouraging people to vote…maybe a small tax credit or something.

  • A small tax credit is not a bad idea, assuming the government can accommodate it.

    In Australia, it’s up to each voter to ensure they can get to a local polling place on election day or arrange a postal vote. If they fail to vote, they need to either provide a reason or pay $20. It encourages people to vote, but it’s small enough that no one ever objects to paying it if they had to.

  • chrisgohlke

    I’ve batted that concept around in my head in the past. In practice it would probably work, but in principal I hate the idea. You should not have to be paid or otherwise enticed to vote. So I think I find that option just as distasteful as the current situation. Plus you could make the argument (especially if the payment or penalty was small) that it would more greatly influence certain demographic segments to vote.

    What about just a simple database showing everyone who did or did not vote. Not who you voted for, but simply if you showed up. Perhaps just the embarrassment or the knowledge that your elected representatives would know when you called them for help that you could not even be bothered to vote.