EDEB8 - Ultimate Online Debating
About Us   Debate    Judge   Forum

That voting should be compulsory

0 points
2 points
nzlockienzlockie (PRO)
Hello and welcome to another exciting Edeb8! Thank you in advance to the Judges for reading and voting on this debate, and to my opponent for putting up, what I'm sure will be, a spirited defence. 
Today's resolution is that Voting should be compulsary. Since this is a limited character debate, I'm going to use this first round to introduce the important ideas, and we'll develop them as we go. We've got four rounds guys - it'll be fine.
I'll start us off with some quick definitions:

Voting will refer to elections for government in a typical western democracy.
Compulsory will be defined as, "required by law".
All other words will carry their normal dictionary definitions. 

To sum up the resolution then, my side will be arguing that a typical Western Democracy would be best served by a system whereby voting in the elections was compelled by law. 
Compulsory voting is not the global norm at this stage, although there are many countries which already have it implemented. 
My side will primarily be arguing the theoretical merits of such a system, rather than getting bogged down in the details of exactly HOW such a system would practically be implemented. Because that might seem like a bit of a cop out, here's a first draft proposal of how such a system could be implemented. Hopefully this will help Judges connect with what, for many, may be a foreign idea. 
Proposed Policy for Elections in PRO-land:
1. Voting is compulsory for all eligible citizens. Eligible citizens include those aged over 18, not in prison, and not excluded on medical grounds. 

2. Voting day will be a Statutory Holiday, with a full shut down of non-essential businesses until 12pm. The goal is obviously to facilitate time to vote. Essential workers must be granted leave to go cast their vote during their working day. The government will also be responsible to put together a method for the less mobile citizens to cast their vote. There are several proven options for this. 

3. Advanced Postal votes allowed and encouraged. 

4. Failure to vote results in a 1% increase on annual income tax return for the following year. (An appeals process is available which has the authority to waive this punishment for special cases.) We feel that linking the penalty to income tax will be the best compromise between making the law attractive to follow but not devastating to those who are at the very low end of the scale, or living overseas. The goal is to encourage higher voter turnout - not to punish anyone.    

5. There is a "No confidence" option on all ballot papers. If the technology can be proven to be more reliable than it is in 2020, we would be open to looking at people voting no confidence, being able to do so via the internet. This recognises those who may not be able to vote, or do not wish to do so on religious or ethical grounds. 

6. Civics classes are mandatory in High School. It's important that the voters are as informed as possible. Studies have consistantly shown that compulsory voting alone is not enough to produce a more politically aware public, however when implemented in conjunction with more education the results are a high voter turnout with more informed voters. 

Why Vote? - Better Representation
Our first primary reason for compulsory voting is that in a democratic society, more views expressed equals a better, or more accurate, representation of the views held by that society
Studies have consistently shown that with compulsory voting comes a higher voter turnout - and most notably, higher representation from the lower socio-economic groups. 

Why Vote? - More Buy-in
It follows from the first point. If people vote, they take more ownership of the decisions a government makes. Since the government will more accurately represent the people, the people are more invested in it. Studies have shown that they are more informed on the depth of issues, but also on the breadth of issues.  

We'll develop these arguments more in the next rounds.
Vote PRO!

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-27 08:49:04
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
Thank you for joining this debate. I will go over flaws in my opponents case, then describe my case if I have the room.

Opponent's Case

1. My opponent claims that he would want to create mandatory civics classes in high school. There are multiple issues with this.
A. My opponent is wanting to create the entire framework that would make mandatory voting be most effective. This is simply an unfair way to portray the round. He needs to defend the idea of implementing mandatory voting (and even necessary laws to allow it) in the status quo, not a utopian society. His punishment mechanism and national holiday are necessary details to ensure that the resolution succeeds, but creating high school classes is an unfair encroachment on con ground. If he can create the perfect prerequisites for mandatory voting, then he would always win, and that creates an unfair debate for con.
B. Civic education is statist propaganda. I don't mean to say that civic education could be used to boost a parties popularity (though this is still a real threat) but to say that it inherently is in favor of the institutionalized power. A Massachusetts civic education program hopes to teach "use the political process to communicate with elected officials."1 By indoctrinating students into working within the given system, we destroy understanding of overthrowing unjust hierarchies and other "extremist" ideas. Civic education is neoliberal propaganda because government education will never teach how to be overthrown. My argument isn't that the status quo is necessarily bad, but that the state shouldn't teach a student how to think about the current system.

2. My opponent claims that there is better representation from voting, but he denies the representation that can come from not casting a ballot. Even by fulfilling a "no confidence" vote, this doesn't represent people who don't support democratic institutions. While I'm not advocating for authoritarian values, I do advocate for people to be able to represent their own values. Protest votes are votes that are intentionally done to show disapproval with the system. Protest votes can be taken by defacing a ballot, voting for extremist or third parties, or not voting.2 By taking away the right to a form of protest vote, you take away the right for a citizen to express their values on the political system their way. This is an infringement on Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes the right to expression. 3

3. My opponent claims there is more responsibility for the government's actions, and therefore would become more educated on the issue, but doesn't tell us why it would work this way. He gives a statistic about how voters are more likely to be up to date on the news, but that isn't a fair analysis. His statistic doesn't prove that voting causes people to go be informed. It could be that watching the news makes you more likely to vote. We don't have proof on which way the correlation goes. Also, any benefit he hopes to achieve on this front goes away with his "no confidence" option. By allowing people to simply state they don't understand the political landscape, there is no push to be informed. A potential voter would just use the "no confidence" cop out to get their tax break without having to truly cast a ballot.

My Case

Mandatory voting violates Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It states "Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives."3 Right is defined as "the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled".4 This distinction is important because something that is mandatory isn't a right, but a duty.

Vote Con


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-28 07:56:30
| Speak Round
Bugsy460: Does mandatory voting still work without civics classes in highschool?
nzlockie: Certainly.Australia and Belgium for example, both have strong Mandatory Voting systems, and neither have compulsory Civics classes.
nzlockie: Before you get too deep in the weeds of my proposed model though, I'd like to remind you that it's only one of many variant examples given to illustrate how a mandatory system could work. Don't make the mistake of attacking the model - it's only a proposed model.
nzlockie: It's important for the judges to see that common attacks to Mandatory Voting systems DO have solutions. In fact there are LOTS of solutions. All of the ones I've proposed are proven to address the issues, and none of them are extreme int he slightest.
nzlockie: Regarding the UDHR - I'm not conceding your assertion that "rights"and "duties" are mutually exclusive, or even that mandatory voting is a violation; but I just want to make sure I'm understanding you clearly... your objection seems to be that a person shouldn't HAVE to vote for a particular party. This transitions a "right" into a "duty". Is this correct?
Bugsy460: I'm saying a citizen shouldn't have to vote at all. The right to vote is the choice to vote. An example of duty is serving in a draft or jury duty. It is something you have to do unless excused.
Bugsy460: If your proposed system is just a possibility, then what in your first speech is definite?
nzlockie: Thanks that clears it up. I explained it in my round: The example of a Mandatory Voting system helps Judges to see how it would work - since it is an unfamiliar system to most people. My two primary points are the ones that directly address the resolution. You saw them both - more accurate representation and a more buy-in from the citizens.
nzlockie: In the last US election roughly 100 million eligible voters declined to do so. To be clear, that only includes people that didn't vote at all - not those that logged a defaced or invalid vote. Of those 100 million, how many of those refused to vote because they did not "support democratic institutions"?
Bugsy460: I'll put the statistic after this answer. 38% of the 100 million "dislike the system. That's 38 million eligible voters who don't vote in a clear disdain of the current democratic system. This is 38 million people you would be silencing because they don't express themselves "properly".
Bugsy460: How does your buy-in point still stand if someone can get rid of all responsibility of choice by choosing "no confidence"?
nzlockie: It stands. People who vote have more buy in. At best more people will vote. At worst everyone who didn't vote will cast a no-confidence vote and we'll be no worse off than we are under the current system.
nzlockie: Just to be clear, and I apologise for belabouring the point - you are saying that if the 100 million voters were asked, "Why did you not vote"- approximately 38% of them would tick the answer that said, "The system is corrupt". Is that true?
nzlockie: The Knights study cited was unprecedented in its size and scope and yet still only directly polled 0.13% of the missing voters. 43% of eligible voters had no voice in the last election. Is a democratically elected government more representative of the people if more people vote?
Bugsy460: So, to answer your first question, yes, that is true. Your critique of the study is that it wasn't big enough, yet you admit it was unprecedented in its size and scope. Statistics like these aren't always perfect, but to just discredit it, then you try to eliminate the idea of using evidence for debates.
Bugsy460: To answer your second question, democratically elected governments lose more representation than they gain if you take away the right of some people to express their views politically the way that they choose to.
Bugsy460: Can representation in a government only be expressed through ballot?
nzlockie: Definitely not discounting the study. It was, as I said, an unprecedented study. If all democratic societies could afford to run studies like this, I might be tempted to reverse my position. I'm only gathering information from you that's all. Just want to make sure my facts are correct!
nzlockie: I appreciate the slightly politik-y answer, but since it's only CX and doesn't really count - could you just give me a straight answer for the record please? Is a democratically elected government more representative of the people if more people vote?
nzlockie: If it helps: in a village of 100 eligible voters, is the election result more likely to be accurately representative if 55 people vote or 95 people vote?
nzlockie: In a democracy, the government is elected through a voting process. The voters use the voting process to form a government (they hope) represents their interests and values. So yes, the only way to have representation in government is by voting.
nzlockie: I'm not sure I'm following you though, so feel free to rephrase if you like. There are certainly other ways to have views and values expressed TO government after the fact... petitions and protests etc etc. Some of these will be effective some of the time. Maybe that's what you meant?
Bugsy460: No, a government is not always more reflective of people just because more people vote. Why should we take away someone's right to expression just because it doesn't line up with how we think they should be expressing themselves?
nzlockie: We shouldn't, and we're not. Boy you are really trying hard to dodge this question, or else you are genuinely mistaken. In your last answer you have refrained my question again to ignore the words, "more likely" and add the word "always". Let's try one more time with a couple of hypotheticals:
nzlockie: 1: In our village of 100 eligible voters, is the resulting government more or less likely to accurately represent the voters' views and ideals if we have one person vote, or 95?
nzlockie: 2: In our village of 100 eligible voters, is the resulting government more or less likely to accurately represent the voters' views and ideals if we only receive votes from villagers in one socio-economic tier? (roughly 40% of the village)
Bugsy460: Before I answer your hypothetical, I need a clarification question answered, does everyone have the right to vote in your scenario?
nzlockie: Yes.
Bugsy460: Then it is less likely to accurately represent voters. Do you think voting is a civic right or civic duty?
nzlockie: Whoa. OK, thanks for THAT clarification. One person voting will result in a more accurately represented government than 95 people voting. Interesting. If that's your view then it's pretty obvious why we're not going to find too much common ground here.
nzlockie: My view would be that voting is both a right AND a duty. Academics call it a right-duty. I don't find those two things to be mutually exclusive like you do.
nzlockie: Since we have a fundamental disagreement about how to form a democratic government that represents the range of views held by the people, I don't think I have any more questions for you. Certainly not on that line of questioning anyway. Thanks for that!
Bugsy460: Can you explain this right-duty more?
nzlockie: I didn't really have space in this next round but I'll give it a crack. Basically, YES it's a right. But with rights come responsibilities. (which you could also call duties) One example they give is that you have a right to life, but with that comes a responsibility or duty to take some care of yourself yourself. Not to simply rely on the system to do everything for you.
nzlockie: Voting is a right afforded to some people. With that right comes a responsibility to excerise it. Failure to do so, doesn't only let YOU down, it lets everyone else in the democratic system down as well. All that being said - there's no reason you could simply refuse that responsibility or duty. It would be kind of a dick-move because it puts more pressure on everyone else, but there are definitely some valid reasons to do so.
nzlockie: That's why the penalties for refusing to vote - even in a mandatory system, should never be TOO harsh. In Australia, which is one of the harshest systems, the penalty is a $20 fine. And that's only for refusing to cast any vote at all. There's no fine for casting an invalid vote.
nzlockie: The goal is not to force people to compromise their personal belief system - it's only to encourage those that are too lazy or whatever, to vote - and it also forces the government to accept more responsibility to facilitate voting - days off, transport options, etc etc. This has the benefits I've outlined in my round.
nzlockie: My next round allows me more characters to devote to those ideas, so you'll see that they'll be more fleshed out there. It's hard being PRO in a limited character debate because my first round has so much space wasted defining and framing the resolution. So it was really only an introduction to the concepts.
Bugsy460: Understandable. I don't have anymore serious questions tbh. Do you?
nzlockie: Nope. Roll on round 2!

Return To Top | Speak Round
nzlockienzlockie (PRO)
Thanks CON. 

What's my Res again?
CON has spent a significant portion of his character limit arguing against my example policy. 
I'd like to remind Judges, (and CON) this was an example of how a Mandatory Voting process COULD be implemented. 
I don't plan to defend the example system I gave because, spoiler alert - PRO-land doesn't actually exist!

As stated, my primary points are the theoretical merits of a Mandatory Voting system. 
Let's develop these ideas a bit more. I'll address my opponent's concerns at the same time. #multitasking

Better Representation 
CON doesn't disagree that more votes equal a more accurate representation of the views held by a society. His only concern is that some of the people who don't vote, don't actually WANT to vote. 

In the last USA election, of the 232 million people eligible to vote, almost HALF of them, chose not to. 

Here's the problem with this. We actually have no idea why they didn't vote. Maybe some of them were busy that day. Most States only give you a couple of hours to vote, just under half of them don't give you any time at all. Some folks probably disagreed with the whole system and thought they should move to a Constitutional Monarchy like all the cool countries. 
Point is, we have no way of knowing. Under a Mandatory Voting system we WOULD have a way to quantify those missing voters
I like the "No Confidence" wording, but there are alternatives: A "NULL" box, a "Protest" box - even a system where they can post a blank or crossed ballot paper. Any of these options would work. 
Also - nothing in a Mandatory Voting system prevents a protest vote. All of the traditional methods of protest voting my opponent mentioned are still possible. 

The Marginalised: The most under-represented people in government are often the ones who rely on Government the most. The poor and disenfranchised. They make up significant portions of the non-voter category, so are seldom pitched to during a campaign. Where is their voice? 
Mandatory voting systems solve for this by ensuring that their voice is heard. 

Why Vote? - More Buy-in  
My main thrust with this point was missed by CON. Don't feel bad, with only a few lines I probably didn't make it as clear as I could have. 

My point here is that when people take an active part in the construction of their government, they become more engaged with it. 
If their side wins, they feel patriotic and proud. If their side loses, they feel incensed and motivated to protest. If they disagree with the whole system they can now express that in a way that is more clearer than ever by lodging a "no confidence" or protest vote.

As for people who vote being more informed? The link I cited last round is from the "100 Million Project". It's the largest survey of non-voters ever. It surveyed 12,000 Chronic non-voters, and 1000 young people who, despite being eligible, didn't vote in the last election. 
Some of the questions which directly address this issue:

The last one is especially telling. Notice that TWICE as many people identified themselves as being knowledgeable about neither

CON's only argument is a tenuous claim that Mandatory Voting contravenes the UDHR.


Nevermind that this 70 year old document, drafted by less than a third of the UN member nations, is largely aspirational and not legally binding at all - his actual point is invalid.

1. People can still Protest vote. People can still refuse to vote and take the 1% tax hit. (and if that's too harsh, we can come up with a different penalty!)

2. Article 29 of the same document provides exception to these rights. Firstly it establishes that with rights come duties. Secondly it notes that individual rights come with the responsibility of ensuring recognition, protection and welfare of ALL citizens of a democratic society. It's our contention that better representation in government achieves this - therefore voting is more than a right, it's a duty: 

Vote PRO!   

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-02 16:05:00
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
I will go over my opponent's points, then my own.

Opponent's Case 

1. My points on civic education still stand. My opponent just hopes to severance himself from an argument when it's going down. This was the only point I made about his proposed system, except for blurbs when I'm attacking his general benefits, so if you think he can kick out of his framework, then shoot down the argument, not the team.

2. My opponent tried to justify the argument of mandatory voting by saying we don't know how many people didn't vote because of a distrust or dislike of the system, but I have the answer. In America, 38% of voters fall into this category.1 38% of voters want a constitutional monarchy, communist revolution, or anarchist commune. As my opponent said, we can't hope to know why every individual of the 38 million people hope to not value our republic, but we can hope to support their right to express their values. Representation can't only be measured by those who vote. My opponent is valuing voting as the only possible way to be represented in a government, but ignores the power of not voting. My opponent only supports statist ways to represent yourself, which I'll get into more later.

3. My opponent brings up marginalized populations, but mandatory doesn't solve the issues that bar them from voting. For example 18 states have strict photo ID laws and 27 have voter registration required before you go vote.2 These laws make it much harder for people to have access for voting and Pro doesn't solve this. (As a little side note, if he wants to use his framework to solve it, make him defend civic education as well. Don't let him cherry pick what works and what doesn't.) These laws don't even answer personal barriers such as having to work or needing childcare. (Once again, don't let him keep the federal holiday point without him keeping civic education.)

4. The problem with the buy in point is he's trying to reverse the correlation. He's saying voting makes people go get educated, but in truth, it's the other way around. The evidence doesn't tell us which way the statistic goes, but we can use logic to help us figure it out. Very simply, people who turn on the news and see politicians they agree or disagree with want to go support them or the opposition. People who vote, but then pay zero attention to the news are less likely to vote the next election because they don't the effects of their vote.

My Case

1. The UN Charter of Human Rights, even if it isn't legally binding, gives nations something to work towards to make the world a better place. His first point is they can protest vote and take the punishment, but this doesn't address the marginalized populations that simply don't have access to voting. (Same side note, he can't pick and choose the parts of his framework that work for him and kick the ones that don't.) Also, Article 29 doesn't apply to voting. Firstly, voting is a personal choice and secondly, if it's about representation, then we have to let those who choose not to vote be represented in their opposition to the system.

2. I promised I'd get into statist representation, and I'll deliver now. By focusing governmental representation only on voting, we create a statist way of "giving public consent" to be governed. We devalue protest, petition, and contacting representatives when we hinge so much on only voting. This is part of the reason people choose to vote. We have to value the democratic process not only in the sole position of voting, but from a complete standpoint. It would make sense that the Pro who hates expression that doesn't follow his mandatory voting plan would want to funnel all political action into one option. 3


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-03 04:21:40
| Speak Round
Bugsy460: Since you dropped civic education, are you dropping the entire framework?
nzlockie: Nope. Didn't address it because I only have 4000 characters and I have to pick and choose the arguments. If you don't like Civic education for some reason then we can replace it with something else. It doesn't really matter what because this isn't a policy debate. Personally I think you're taking a pretty pessimistic view that presenting an unbiased lesson on civics is some kind of impossibility.
nzlockie: Hey in the third point of this last round, did you just decide that we're basing this debate in the US? Because my understanding is that this is just a hypothetical issue. I certainly don't plan on fixing everything that's wrong with the way the US sets up their elections.
nzlockie: Perhaps some confusion came because I mentioned the 100 million study - that's only because it was the biggest study I could find that investigated non-voters. The US system of elections is crazy weird.
nzlockie: Hey I don't really have any CX questions that spring to mind right now - but your profile says you're American. If so, does 38% of your country's non-voters, slightly over 25% of the eligible voters seem slightly high to you? If over a quarter of your country has a problem with the democratic process - don't you think it's about time you guys switched to a monarchy or something?!
Bugsy460: Are you saying there isn't barriers to voting in other democratic nations, for example, people having to work. Also, if that many people aren't voting, there needs to be reforms taking place, but the only way we see dissatisfaction with the system is by the possibility of people to not vote.
Bugsy460: Do the educated vote, or does the voter become educated?
nzlockie: Sundays are the most common days for Election to take place. Cool countries like NZ and Australia always do it on a Saturday. But there are still a few losers that do it on the Weekdays - although some of those declare it a public holiday so that's OK. But I want to be clear, this debate is less about the practicalities of any one proposed system, and more about the aspiration of increased voter representation through mandatory voting. If we agree that it's desirable, we can easily defeat the existing barriers to voting.
nzlockie: On an individual level, these barriers have already been addressed by separate countries. It's just a case of designing a system that includes all of the mechanisms to give us the best shot of having a high voter turnout of informed and passionate voters. My side believes that Mandatory Voting is an important piece of that puzzle.
nzlockie: Creating an "educated" voter is probably the hardest part of this puzzle. It's pretty clear that educated people vote in larger ratios than non-educated people - but it's not clear what role the actual education plays in that process. What IS clear is that one of the major barriers to voting is unfamiliarity with the process of democracy. This is where I've postulated that civics lessons could be of most benefit. But if we don't trust that to be objective enough, there are certainly other methods we could employ.
nzlockie: Sorry to more directly answer your last question: "Do the educated vote?" - Yes. "Do the voters become more educated?" - Yes. What degrees do those things happen in? Is it fair to assign any causality to those actions? Harder to tell either way I'm afraid.
nzlockie: (I'm dropping the "how do you feel about such a significant minority of your country apparently having an issue with democracy as a political system" line - that had nothing to do with this debate, I was just curious on a personal level. )
Bugsy460: (Personally, I don't think anything is wrong with it. I hope to see change.)
Bugsy460: So, does voting make people responsible for the actions of the nation?
nzlockie: Kind of simple question but with a ton of nuance. I would say, NO, it doesn’t - but are voters, (or non voters for that matter) completely blameless when it comes to actions of a government they put, (or, allowed To be put) in power? Also no.
Bugsy460: Does not voting absolve you of the guilt of the states actions?
nzlockie: The complete opposite actually. In a democracy we are all given the power to influence the government, and by extension, their actions. If you are against the government, the fact you didn’t utilise your power to keep them out, or vote them out, should make you feel MORE guilty - not less.
nzlockie: To be clear though, at an individual level, this guilt is largely psychological. I’ll reiterate, the government is ultimately responsible for their actions. The voter is only responsible for giving them the power to carry those actions out. A gun seller is not responsible for someone who kills with a gun they sold them. It’s like that.
Bugsy460: Do you believe voting for undemocratic parties is unhelpful?
nzlockie: Not at all. What could be more democratic than allowing the populace to choose the party they feel best represents them - even if that party would then overthrow the democracy and turn the whole place into some sort of regime?
nzlockie: At least that way everyone knows where we stand. Take your stat for example. If almost a quarter of eligible voters in the US actively want an alternative political system to democracy... I’d want to investigate that further. That level of discontent would need to be acknowledged and addressed.

Return To Top | Speak Round
nzlockienzlockie (PRO)
Thanks again CON 

I'm going to use this round to directly address some of CON's CONcerns - both with my case, and with Mandatory Voting in general. 

So at the risk of this being a bit of a list, let's kick into it:

1. Civics Classes? Days off for voting? Has the world gone MAD?!

I'll just say this again. This resolution is about Mandatory Voting. In the first round I've provided ONE example of what such a system COULD look like. My goal in this is to illustrate that we are aware of the problems, and that there are measures that we could take to address them. 

Even Protest votes by people who hate democracy can be catered to. CON is very concerned about these folks, so this should make him happy. 

2. Almost 25% of the people in the "Greatest Democracy the world has ever known" hate democracy. 
One problem with the current system of voting is that we KNOW we are missing people. In the last US election for example, almost HALF of eligible voters stayed silent. This does not include protest votes or spoiled ballots - this is just the silent minority.
This election is significant because afterwards one of the most comprehennsive sureys ever was conducted to find out who these people were and why they didn't vote. 
My opponent claims that 38% didn't vote because they hated Democracy. 

nzlockie: Just to be clear, and I apologise for belabouring the point - you are saying that if the 100 million voters were asked, "Why did you not vote"- approximately 38% of them would tick the answer that said, "The system is corrupt". Is that true?

Bugsy460: So, [in relation to this question], yes, that is true.
~Exchange from Round 1 CX.

This simply ISN'T true. I'll draw the judges attention to the exact question that was posed to the 100 million, where "The System is Corrupt" was a literal answer. It's a little hard to read, so I circled it in red. 
Not 38% - only 8%.
Judges, the fact is, most people don't vote because they don't connect with the candidates or they don't think their vote matters. Most evidence points towards this being why people in the low socio-economic groups don't vote. And since they don't vote, they're not courted by prospective candidates either. In short - their votes DON'T matter... because they don't cast them.

Mandatory voting solves for this.

3. Does Mandatory voting solve for under-representation from the marginalised?
What did I just say?! 
My opponent threw up some weak thing about stupid laws that one stupid country has which makes it more difficult to vote. Oh dear. If only we could fix stupid laws.

Oh, wait a minute...

4. Are Voters more invested in their country?
Voters are more invested in their country because they either had a hand in putting them into power, or they tried to keep them out, failed and now they want the world to know that President Trump doesn't represent THEIR America.
Either way, they become more engaged with the political process and even more patriotic. Just look at Australia where voting has been compulsory since 1915. By every conceivable measure the worst country in the world, and yet you still get this level of patriotism every Australia Day:


What's wrong with CON's Case?
: Protest votes

Under a Mandatory Voting system, protest votes are fine. Both sides of this debate have given several examples of ways Protest votes are lodged - all of these can still be done. The only difference is that not actually telling anyone that you hate democracy is now a technical foul with a punishment to be decided. In Australia it is typically a $20 fine.
Of course, I'd argue that defacing your ballot with Anarchist signs is probably a better way of getting your point across and wouldn't even get a penalty. 

: The UDHR
Article 29 is pretty clear. We have a responsibility to subject our personal liberties to processes that ensure recognition for those more marginalised than ourselves. Mandatory voting achieves this by giving them the chance to see how much their vote really does matter. 

Vote PRO!  



Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-10 01:40:04
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
I will go over all the existing points since they've been melded.


1. Con has an obligation to clash. I simply clashed with the framework he provided. He can't claim it when it's convenient but then forsake it when it gets sticky. I'll get into it later when I talk about dumb election laws, but we'll get to it later. Either discount it in its entirety or hold them accountable to all parts.

2. My opponent claims that only 8% of voters "hate democracy", but this is clearly cherry picking the statistic. Even going off his statistic (ignoring mine, even though the Knight Foundation study doesn't outline how many were surveyed, while mine clearly says 12,000), my opponent still doesn't give a full analysis. He cites the 8% who think it's corrupt but ignores the 17% who don't like the candidates. That brings us up to 25%. On top of that, 5% aren't registered. We can't assume that all aren't registered because of a distrust or dislike of the system, but even assuming 1%, that brings us up to 26%. Next, we have to take into account the 2% that can't vote for religious reasons, because that means they morally disagree with the system. This brings us up to 28%. Lastly, we have other, which could bring us up to 37%. This brings us a lot closer to our number. My opponent ignores these other people who have dislike of the system because it doesn't fit his agenda, but we need to holistically analyze these statistics.

3. My opponent said he doesn't have to defend stupid laws. His meme truly got a honest to God laugh out of me, and I enjoyed it, but it doesn't answer the question. Looking at his previous statistic, if he throws away his framework (because civic education got too sketchy for him), he has to defend punishing, no matter how lightly, the 2% who don't know when the election is, 3% that don't have transportation, 8% that don't have time, 2% that have a religious objection, and 5% that aren't registered. He decided to move forward with throwing away the framework, so make him defend punishing the, most likely, poorer 20% because they don't have legal or financial access to his mandate. Even though this statistic is about the United States, he still doesn't answer how the impoverished of all nations that don't have transportation or time will be able to go vote. Mandatory voting fails without better options for the poor.

4. Once again, a meme isn't really an answer to the legitimacy of the buy-in claim. The problem with buy in is not everyone who votes is going to feel like their vote is doing something. A lot of people will feel it simply is a chore they're doing to avoid whatever the punishment set up by the government is. My opponent proved those who watch the news are more likely to vote, but he can't prove that those who are forced to vote are more likely to watch the news. He can claim they will because they feel more invested, but why wouldn't they feel invested in communities, states, and nations they live in? If they don't feel invested in that, a forced vote won't help.

5. The protest vote is key to expression. My opponent wants to control how people protest the state, which inherently defeats the purpose of protesting. He wants voters to deface ballots, and if someone chooses to, so be it. My argument is that people should be allowed to protest (and participate in the political process) however they choose. The right to expression is a fundamental right that must be protected with ever political decision we make. By saying it is OK to devalue this expression, we then devalue all expressions.

6. This point on Article 29 is a gross overstatement of the ability of mandatory voting. Mandatory voting won't prove a vote matters. All it would do is infringe on religious freedom, attack the impoverished because of their inability to vote, and attack expression. That doesn't help marginalized people, but quite the opposite.

Vote Con

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-11 08:37:06
| Speak Round
Bugsy460: How does mandatory voting help marginalized groups when the impoverished don't have equal access to polls and will be punished for it?
nzlockie: Any country mandating compulsory voting had a responsibility to provide the means necessary to vote, or grant Amnesty. This is already put in place in many countries, even those where voting is optional, such as my own. To be honest it's not that big of a deal.
nzlockie: I'd just like to get clarification on your stance so I don't miss-quote you in my final summation: You are obviously of three opinion that currently there are whole sections of society that can't vote, (the impoverished) and won't vote, (those against democracy) and that these constitute a significant percentage of eligible voters. We have no official recognition of their opinions in elected government side they didn't participate. But you think that results in a MORE accurate representation of society in government. Is that right?
nzlockie: (I'm referencing your answers to my questions in the last CX, with the village analogy. )
nzlockie: sorry, audio correct. "side" = "Since". "three " = "the".
Bugsy460: I think it does more accurately reflect society. Should democratic representation matter more than the right to expression?
nzlockie: ooo tricky one. It's tricky because in any other political system you typically don't have any meaningful right to expression. So the two are really hard to separate. I guess I would say the right to expression is more IMPORTANT, with the caviat that democratic representation is more powerful and preferred. After all, that's usually what the protests are asking for.
nzlockie: (Its also irrelevant to this debate since the populace not only still possess their right to expression, but that right is now made more accessible, since we'll now be hearing from more people.
nzlockie: I was confused in your last round when you said that the Knight study didn't specify that numbers surveyed, but that your study said 12,000. You realise that your "study" was just a commentary on the Knight study right? And that the Knight study I linked to definitely did specify the numbers surveyed?
nzlockie: Are you happy to withdraw that objection? Or do I need to waste characters in the next round pointing to the exact lines in both documents where it spells this out?
nzlockie: In a democracy, is it desirable to have a government that accurately reflects the views and opinions held by that society? If not, which societal groups should we ignore, and who decides that?
nzlockie: Also, if yes, which societal groups should we ignore and who decides that?
Bugsy460: I'll pull my objection about unknown numbers, since I was unaware it was an analysis of the study, but my complaint of you ignoring some people who choose not to vote is still there. We need a government that reflects voluntarily participating members of society. We should ignore those who want to be ignored.
nzlockie: In your view, is it accurate to assume that everyone who doesn’t vote, “wants to be ignored”?
nzlockie: Also, you haven’t answered my previous question: is a government that accurately reflects the views and opinions held by that society desirable?
Bugsy460: People who don't vote fall into three categories. They are either unsure, and mandatory voting just forces them to take a guess. The might want to make a statement, and mandatory voting rips away their right to expression. Lastly, their are people who are unable to vote, and mandatory voting just punishes them for factors outside their control.
Bugsy460: A government that accurately reflects the views of society is desirable, but citizens might try to achieve this through refusing to interact with the system.
Bugsy460: Should citizens who are unable to vote be punished?
nzlockie: Thanks for that - would you be willing to concede that people who "want to make a statement" would fall into the category of those who don't want to be ignored?
nzlockie: People who are unable to vote - for example those that are mentally impaired, should not be punished. Nor should they be compelled to vote. We can grant exemptions for that, in the same ways that we currently grant exemptions for all sorts of laws.
nzlockie: Also, just so we're on the same page - can you give me some examples of people who are "unable to vote'? I've got this nasty feeling we're using the same words to describe different people.
Bugsy460: People who work jobs, have dependents to take care of, those legally blocked for whatever reason. Those who want to make a statement might or might not want to be ignored. It depends on their statement. A political nihilist would want to be ignored while an anarchist might not.
Bugsy460: What makes your legally sanctioned form of expression more legitimate then those you try to block?
nzlockie: OK, I suspected that might be the case. OK, just so we're clear then, my definition of people unable to vote is a lot narrower than yours. In my scenario anyone could apply for exemption, but it's unlikely that most of the examples you've given would qualify. In a compulsory voting situation, the government would HAVE to make voting more accessible - hence options like mail voting, shuttle services, days off etc etc.
nzlockie: Hopefully this makes my previous answer more clear to you. In my scenario, 99% of eligible voters would be able to vote, so while the exemptions would have to be in place, they would very much be the rarity. Like, literally 1-3% of the voting pool.
nzlockie: Hmmm - I'm not sure I follow your question. Could you rephrase? My goal under a compulsory voting scheme would be for EVERYONE to vote. I wouldn't be trying to block anyone?
nzlockie: I THINK you might be referring to my "blocking" of forms of protest - the obvious one being not voting at all. Is that right?
nzlockie: By it's very definition, "making a statement" infers a sense of communication, but fine, I'll allow it. Can you just tell me real quick what percentage of the non-voters are Political Nihilists? I'll accept an educated guess since i doubt we'll get a verifiable answer - but we're on the honour system here. I'm trusting you!

Return To Top | Speak Round
nzlockienzlockie (PRO)
Thanks CON for that last round and the spirited debate. 

Final round! You made it!
I'm going to use this round to sum up my arguments and explain why I've won. Then you can do a quick glance over CON's summation to make sure I haven't left anything out, and you're all done.

This debate was on whether Voting should be compulsory

Can we practically do it?
The answer is YES. Throughout the debate, CON hasn't really given any reasons why we couldn't roll this system out. Don't blame him, it's because there aren't really any. All the obvious ones relating to physical access to the polling booth can be solved, and are currently working in many countries around the world. The physiological barriers are perhaps a tougher nut to crack, especially if you're with CON on the anti-education front, but I'm happy that we can fix it. 

So yes, we can roll this system out. 

Is there a benefit?
YES! The studies cited earlier in this debate have shown that the lower socio-economic groups, as well as many other minorities are over-represented in the non-voter categories, and under-represented in government. In the last CX round CON agreed that a more representative government is desirable. With the law change, the government would be beholden to ensure that all citizens have adequate opportunity to express their view. 

We also mentioned that with a larger voting pool comes more "buy-in". Essentially the Government has a clearer mandate to action the policies they campaigned on. Even people who didn't get their preferred leaders are more fired up for change. 
What you DON'T get with compulsory voting is apathy. 
In case you missed it, in the last round of CX, my opponent withdrew his comments regarding the Knight Study i cited, when he realised that his source was commenting on the same study. 
The Knight study is good, the biggest of its kind - but it still only gives us insight into the minds of less than half a percent, (0.48%) of eligible voters in ONE country. Another stated benefit of compulsory voting is that we will finally be able to see what the majority of our country thinks.

Playing devil's advocate, CON has CONsistantly brought up the fact that this law change would negate a section of society who currently exercise their Right to NOT vote in protest against Democracy. Willfully ignoring the fact that they can still protest using every method he’s mentioned.
We're not sure what the percentage of non voters who hate democracy is; he says roughly 38%, the actual study he was quoting from says 8% - but it's irrelevant anyway. 
We are sacrificing the "right"of a small percentage of people who hate democracy, for the greater good of a large percentage of people who wish they could exercise their right - but can't. 

Article 29 of the UDHR states that sometimes it is necessary for some of us to relinquish our rights so that others may have opportunity to exercise theirs. One small example of this could be closing retail for half a day so that the workers can make it to the polls. Another example might be that someone who wants to express their hatred of Democracy by staying home, might have to pay a small fine, or scrawl anarchist symbols all over their ballot paper instead of actually voting.

That's it as far as downsides go. CON has some practical concerns with how the new system will look. I don't blame him, it's a big change and we might have to work a bit before we get the winning formula - but we both agree, the goal is worth it. 
After all, both sides have agreed that a government that's more representative of the people is desirable. To only way to achieve that is to start hearing from the people. Even the ones who hate democracy!

Why did I win?
As always, I only won if I had stronger points than my opponent. My opponent only really had one rebuttal, and even if you agreed with it, the tiny negative is outweighed by the huge positives. 
In a democracy, voting is not just a right, it's a duty. 

And your duty is to VOTE PRO!

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-16 22:59:24
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
I will go over all the different points made throughout the round and how they factor for the debate.

1. My opponent doesn't get to just assume that all the bugs associated with the new system would work themselves out. Under that philosophy, any plan becomes a great plan because all the bugs work themselves out. He created a framework at the beginning I was willing to engage with him on, but he dropped it at the first sign of trouble. The problem is that my opponent wants all the benefits of his framework with none of the drawbacks. This strategy for debate is a threat to discourse as a whole and creates an unfair amount of ground for Pro. What I mean when I say ground is my opponent practically gets a boost to his side of the debate (and all future pros if they can just wish a working system without having to explain) without actually arguing for it. My opponent loses on this, not even so much for the education point, but so we can preserve the debate space. If we allow Pros to just create worlds where their plan works without having to defend it, then we create a debate space that doesn't allow Con to have a chance. You have to vote Con off this point alone to preserve the fairness and educational value of debate.

2. The value of the protest vote to be expressed however the potential voter chooses is paramount. I answered in CX that government is better when it is more representative, but representation needs to be valued less narrowly than how Pro values it. Representation is having your opinion heard by the government however you choose to voice it. A 60% voting rate can be a good signifier something is wrong, but by destroying the ability for someone to express their beliefs their way, you destroy their representation. My opponent wants to deprive a large portion of people of the right to representation and expression because he can only values these terms on the states basis. Reject his value of representation to truly protect representation, a value of representation that truly signifies allowing people to express themselves, not file into the states narrow view of what is and isn't acceptable.

3.Firstly, I need to clarify the mischaracterization my opponent has tried to construe about me. The only comment I rescinded about the study was the comments that the graphics don't confirm how many people were questioned in the study.My opponent keeps saying 8% because that's how many don't vote because "the system is corrupt". My opponent ignores those who don't like the candidates, those who choose to not be registered, those who can't religiously work within the system, and those who chose other. These could all possibly be part of a movement that dislike democracy, but my opponent wants to narrow the number so he doesn't have to defend the true amount of people who don't support modern democracy. He wants to shrink that number so he has an easier time saying that he can rips rights away from people, but let's work with his misrepresentation of the statistic for a second. Is it alright to violate the representation and expression of 8% of the population because it's smaller? No! Don't allow my opponent to shred true representation and expression because those who disagree with him is a small number, even if you buy his bogus number.

4. My opponent can't prove buy-in because he can't prove that the politically inactive will all of a sudden care just because they were forced to check a box (one they might have checked at random.)

5. Article 29 doesn't allow you to violate other people's rights, but my opponent's plan violates it by trying to force everyone to express how they feel his way, as well as ruin their representation because it doesn't fit his state based view of rights.

Why did I win?

I have championed the rights of people no matter if I disagree with them or not, as well as fairly argued against an opponent who just presumes he gets all the benefits of a working plan without explaining how.

Vote Con

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-20 04:43:17
| Speak Round

View As PDF

Enjoyed this debate? Please share it!

You need to be logged in to be able to comment
Posted 2020-06-15 22:31:35
Posted 2020-06-15 22:24:54
Oops I forgot, no punctuation after the name... @admin
Posted 2020-06-15 21:03:15
@admin, it was about ten hours to go. As far as I’m concerned I’m happy to finish it. I’ve already written my final round anyway, I was mostly just killing time... BTW, are you going have that “finish CX early” button hooked up for the new site?
Posted 2020-06-15 20:59:16
Got it!

Also, I think it extended the CX time a bit because magic is weird. Can't remember what it was before sorry.
Posted 2020-06-15 19:34:08
Hopefully not in the mines of Moria... I've heard there something nasty down there...
Posted 2020-06-15 19:20:14
Urgh, where did I leave that magic wand...
Posted 2020-06-15 18:45:48
We're doing it! We call in @admin and he waves his magic wand and fixes it.
Posted 2020-06-15 13:30:58
What do we do?
Posted 2020-06-15 09:18:43
@admin there seems to be a big which has caused Cons last round to be posted several times?
Posted 2020-06-14 05:51:18
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2020-06-20 18:27:10
DillonCrawfordJudge: DillonCrawford
Win awarded to: Bugsy460
2020-06-25 14:16:30
dpowell3543Judge: dpowell3543    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Bugsy460

Rules of the debate

  • Text debate
  • Individual debate
  • 4 rounds
  • 4000 characters per round
  • No reply speeches
  • Uses cross-examination
  • Permissive Judging Standard (notes)
  • Forfeiting rounds means forfeiting the debate
  • Images allowed
  • HTML formatting allowed
  • Unrated debate
  • Time to post: 5 days
  • Time to vote: 2 weeks
  • Time to prepare: 12 hours
This is a random challenge. See the general rules for random challenges at http://www.edeb8.com/resources/General+rules+for+random+debates+%28version+2%29