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peter lindsay

Physics Teacher,

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In a democracy should voting be compulsory

I am really undecided on this one. I see examples of both having effects I don't like. In Australia voting is compulsory so elections are often decided by a small group of swinging voters. This has resulted in the homogenisation of the two major political parties as they both fight over the middle ground. In the US I see elections swung by appealing to the extremes as an election where only half the population vote can be decided by encouraging a small extremist group to take part. The middle majority don't vote as they can't make up their minds. How do we get an election result that is truly indicative of the wishes of the whole population without homogenising the debate to the point where the parties are indestinguishable?

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    May 10 2012: It doesn't matter. I have both voted and not voted in elections. Regardless of the rules, the entire electorate contribute. A thoughtful citizen who does not vote does so in full knowledge of what effect that inactivity has on the election. The electorate will over time get the government they deserve. In the end the only certain safeguard that democracy gives us is the ability to get rid of malicious dictators. Whether it's compulsory or not, politicians tailor their campaigns to suit the rules in order to improve their chances of power, making democracy quite a poor method to elect good government- it's just a way to elect the most electable people.

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