Compulsory Voting in America: Against Our Civil Rights

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Allen
EGL 101-018/035
Fall 2010

Compulsory Voting in America: Against Our Civil Rights

The United States of America is supposed to be a land of freedom where one can exercise the right to have various liberties that are not found in many other countries around the world. Among these liberties is the right to vote in a democratic government. Voting is a privilege in the United States that should not be taken for granted; many countries do not have the luxury of choosing who they want to represent them in government. Or if they do, they have in place a system that is called compulsory voting. Compulsory voting is a system in which voters are obligated to come to their designated polling place on Election Day to place a vote. If voters do not come to vote, they “may be subject to punitive measures such as fines, community service, or perhaps imprisonment if fines are unpaid or community service is not performed” (Wikipedia 1). If the United States government is considered a democracy, and if citizens are allowed liberties such as freedom of speech among many others, then why establish a system of compulsory voting? It goes against what America has stood for all along and therefore should not be enforced. Compulsory voting is an undemocratic tool used to force people to do something they should not be forced to do against their will-vote. It is an infringement of liberty to enforce compulsory voting in the United States. There are many reasons why compulsory voting in the United States would not work. First, it would increase the amount of donkey votes in the election. A donkey vote is “a vote on a preferential ballot on which the voter’s order of preference follows the order in which the candidates are listed” (Wikipedia 1). In other words, it is considered a “bad” vote and is not counted towards determining the winner of the election. It also has the potential to bias the vote by making the first person listed on the ballot more inclined to

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