Alright, thanks to RM for taking up the challenge, and I will be happy to start off this debate. I am taking the proposition on the topic “That voting should be compulsory.”
This is really a truncated topic, lacking much of the necessary detail for understanding its boundaries. Where is this happening? Voting on what? What does it mean to be compulsory? Hence, I would expand the resolution as follows:
“The United States Federal Government would make voting compulsory for U.S. citizens in national elections.”
Voting: a method for a group such as a meeting or an electorate to make a decision or express an opinion—often following discussions, debates, or election campaigns.
Compulsory: required by a law or rule 
Given that, I will now break down the policy that takes shape to make this possible, as this is not a “should” but a “would,” and therefore implementation becomes important.
Full plan text:
The U.S. Federal Government, specifically the legislature, will require that citizens of the appropriate age who do not have substantial mitigating circumstances (emergencies, mainly) vote in every national election. In order to best accommodate these individuals, election day will become a national holiday, and the government will increase investment in its voting facilities, increasing their number, equipment and distribution. This increased investment would include services to transport individuals to voting facilities. Failure to vote results in an automatic tax increase that applies on a percentage basis, adding on approximately 1% to their tax burdens. This applies if they are not currently paying income taxes, but not to those who completely lack income. This effectively replaces a fine as a method of enforcement.
I will not make any advantages based off of the addendums presented in this case, as they are solely meant to deal with a larger volume of voters. I don't believe it should be my duty to defend a case where everyone is forced to vote with full knowledge that the current system isn't structured to accept so many voters. So my advantages will solely focus on why voting should be compulsory.
1) Voting as a civic duty
On a very basic level, living in a democratic republic like the U.S., there's a significant importance placed on voting. I don't think it's necessary to show how much has been put on the line throughout history to start and continue this government's system intact. To say that it's important is an understatement – it's the reason our country exists, and the reason that our system of government has spread since its inception to so many other nations.
But democracy isn't just important on a historical basis. It's the basis for how our country continues to function, and an essential component in determining who represents the country. As such, voting is necessary to keep the country functioning for the benefit of the people. It's beneficial for all eligible voters to understand that necessity, and to be aware that their duty as citizens is to be involved in the composition of their government, and thus to be involved in the laws it passes. This is the same reason why jury duty is compulsory, as it ensures that the courts can function properly. It is necessary for a functioning democracy. I think Lisa Hill, a professor of politics at the University of Adelaide, Australia, put it best:
“Being enabled to enjoy the benefits of democratic life, of living in a democracy instead of, say, a dictatorship requires participatory effort. Democratic citizens owe it to each other to vote so that, together, they can constitute and perpetuate democracy and collectively enjoy the benefits of living in a properly functioning democratic society where everyone counts.”
Part of the reason that voting is so important is because it ensures that your views play a role in how your part of the country, and the country as a whole, are represented. Representation is enhanced by having a larger voting bloc, but that's a basic hazard of democracy in any case. What changes in a voluntary voting system? Those sectors of the public that turn out to vote. Who turns out to vote? Those with higher incomes. Voter apathy is inversely correlated with wealth, as those with more wealth tend to vote more often.[4, 5] This means that these groups receive less representation, as the leadership of our political parties has little reason to see to their needs over those of the rich. Compulsory voting ameliorates this problem, making voting blocs the size of their populations, and, perhaps, even reducing the gridlock that we currently see between political parties. This is what we've seen in studies conducted in Australia, a country that employs compulsory voting. In the end, this ensures that special interest groups and extremist subsets of the population have less control, and over the way U.S. policy is conducted, and have to convince broader subsets of the population that their intentions are for a larger overall benefit than simply for themselves.
3) Reduced apathy
More people voting means a lesser effect of voter apathy, but can compulsory voting actually reduce this apathy? Yes it can.
“Support could be garnered for compulsory voting legislation by bringing this connection to the attention of the general public. It seems logical that if individuals believe that a candidate’s stance coincides closely with their own, they are more likely to express their agreement with the policy at the polls. In order to ascertain a candidate’s views and compare them to their own, the citizen would need to attend campaign events and follow the news closely, which are desirable consequences. Compulsory voting would solve what appears to be the biggest problem with our voting system today: disconnect between politicians’ understanding of the issues and desired resolution of those issues by the general public.
This disconnect creates apathy and reinforces the idea that 'one vote won’t make the difference.' One can enjoy the benefits of living in a free, democratic society whether one expends the time and effort to vote or not. Compulsory voting legislation would simply be a gentle reminder that an element of democracy is the contract between you and your fellow citizens to participate in government.”
What this shows is that compulsory voting is the only way to ensure that everyone experiences a strong reason to buy into national elections, and thus reduces voter apathy by making it a desirable thing to pursue. This means that more voters are willingly engaging in the voting process and, moreover, that those voters are better informed. But to take it a step further:
“...voting is largely norm-driven and highly habitual. Thus, in order to reverse the growing trend of abstention and encourage future generations of potential voters to develop the habit of voting, a drastic solution is necessary.”
Any other solution produces something that is less habit-forming, and creates fewer solid norms. Lesser measures are going to be ineffective, and leaving the situation as it is leads to widespread voter apathy. Only my case satisfies these concerns.
With that, I leave it to Con to establish his case and rebut mine.
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That cross-x was... well, it was. RM repeated his points multiple times, declared my argument invalid, and made some personal attacks. I'll spend this round addressing his case. He doesn't break them down into cleanly, so I will.
1) “True democracy”
He suggests that my argument pushes for a “true democracy” to be implemented. Multiple responses.
1. RM never defines what a true democracy is. He simply says what it results in, but without ever linking it to my case.
2. No link. My case doesn't link to his nebulous “true democracy.” I specifically stated that this system is meant to bolster our democratic republic, which is what our country's actual system of government looks like. This whole contention is an attempt to straw man my case without any links, warrants or evidence that my case meets his definition.
3. No warrant. RM simply claims that “if the majority of people in a room want the rape of the minority of people to be legalized, then it would be.” This is utterly absurd in a system with checks and balances that prevent that kind of policy from being adopted. The U.S. Supreme Court, at the very least, would strike down practically any such policy before it was enacted. RM also never provides any reason to believe that the people of the U.S. would pass such a ridiculous law.
4. No evidence. RM provides not a single example of a “true democracy” that has failed, simply stating that it's a failure even before it begins. Without support, his claim that “we keep fighting to the bitter end” is nothing but assertion. Meanwhile, Australia presents a perfect example of a country that is most certainly not a pure democracy with compulsory voting.
5. Non-unique. Majority wins in status quo, that's not something new I'm implementing. All I'm changing is who is represented by that majority, which is an actual majority of citizens instead of an overrepresented subset. Even if you're buying all of RM's claims of harm, they exist in both our worlds, and therefore should be ignored.
6. Turn. “True democracy” is the only way for the minorities that are often unrepresented in status quo to have a voice. Turning out to vote is necessary for their representative government to pay attention to them. Only my case ensures that nearly every member of every minority turns out to vote, ensuring that they have more adequate representation.
The remainder of this argument makes no logical sense to me. All of it seems to be problems inherent to any kind of democracy, so cross-apply my non-unique.
2) Rebuttal to my Contention 1
RM merely states that “[voting] is something offered to those who care which of the parties gain power,” but he never warrants this statement. In fact, I spent a lot of time under this contention explaining why those who “care” shouldn't be the only ones making the decisions, and those points will get extended shortly. Here, however, I'm simply going to extend the untouched points on this contention. Extend my argument that there's a historical basis for the duty – people fought and died for our democratic system of voting to exist, ergo it's our duty to uphold it. Extend my point that eligible voters need to understand the necessity of democracy as a basic component of their lives. Extend my comparison to jury duty, which showcases a specific duty that relates to voting. And extend the quote I provided, which explains why citizens of a democratic country owe their vote to society at large. RM provides no response to these.
3) Response to Contention 2
RM's entire response to my second contention doesn't apply. Extend the following: a) many groups are underrepresented, b) that those groups garner attention and representation through compulsory voting, c) that compulsory voting ensures more policy is passed with less gridlock, d) that Australia suffices as a real world example of this working, and e) that the vocal groups that currently control a great deal of the voting don't always have the best interest of the general public in mind. And just to make the impacts clearer:
“Places with mandatory voting also have less wealth inequality, lower levels of political corruption and higher levels of satisfaction with the way democracy is working than voluntary systems.”
4) Right vs. Duty
Much of this was sprinkled throughout RM's arguments and the cross-x, and yet he provides only assertions, with a single outstanding warrant, which boils down to this: children and convicts aren't allowed to vote, so it must be a right. This point is, similarly, unwarranted. I'd say my example of jury duty is actually a perfect counter to this, as both children and felons are excluded from jury duty. This is a duty that effectively excludes subsets of the population that are deemed incapable of or unfit for fulfilling that duty. I've also provided other, substantial warrants in my first contention for why voting is a duty, whereas RM has failed to support his argument that it's a right.
Fundamentally, RM is wrong when he says that the purpose of voting is “to see what the people who care about a matter think about it.” Voting is not taking a poll. Voting has real consequences for real people. To not vote willingly is to ignore those consequences for themselves and society at large.
5) Gun to the Head
RM states that my policy is the equivalent of holding a gun to the head of every eligible voter. It's apparent that RM didn't even read my case. I pointed out specifically what my policy does (increase the taxes of those who don't vote) and he has in no way linked it to his dystopian interpretation. And yes, it does appear in my plan text:
“Failure to vote results in an automatic tax increase that applies on a percentage basis, adding on approximately 1% to their tax burdens.”
RM has failed to show that this, in any way, relates to holding a gun to someone's head. Interestingly, he hasn't actually pointed out a harm to using a threat of violence to force a vote, beyond an appeal to emotion and some interesting pictures. He's also failed to show (despite his accusation in cross-x) that my policy would engage in taunting apathetic voters, which similarly has no link to my case. These are nothing but straw men meant to make my case look far more sinister than it is, and should be ignored.
6) The Right to Apathy
This is the most pervasive point in RM's case, appearing at several points throughout the previous round and several times in cross-x. I have several responses.
1. Non-unique impact. All RM provides in the way of impact here is that some ill-informed, irresponsible people will vote. This happens right now. People of all sorts vote, often poked and prodded into it by social pressures. My case increases the number of those people who would vote, but it also increases the number of informed, responsible voters. RM will have to show that the majority of that 49% is irresponsible, and will continue to be irresponsible if forced to vote.
2. It's appalling that RM wishes to exclude people on the basis of their knowledge base. What amount of knowledge does a voter have to have about the political candidates and issues before they become “informed”? Is RM suggesting that we should exclude people who lack certain pieces of knowledge? I'd argue that that kind of exclusionary elitism has no place in any kind of democracy.
3. The reasons why most people don't vote actually has more to do with socio-economics than apathy:
“U.S. voter turnout lags other western democracies by about 10 to 15 percent. This has to do with many factors, including the American system of representation, the wide socioeconomic and demographic variation in the public, and the way political parties and candidates engage voters. Apathy plays a role, but it is much smaller than socio-economics.”
Hence, most of those who don't vote now and would be forced to vote aren't exercising any right to apathy.
4. Turn. Only my case ensures that more people are informed. Extend my entire Contention 3, which goes dropped. This shows a reduction in apathy will happen, and how that increased interest will lead to more people being informed.
5. Turn. Only my case ensures that those who vote randomly have less sway in any given election. A number of people do this in status quo either because they don't think their vote matters, or because they don't like any of the candidates presented, using apathy as a form of protest . With only 51% of the population voting, that has a huge effect on the outcome. That impact is far reduced with more voters.
6. RM doesn't contest the harms of apathy, he just says we should have a right to it. Even if he's right that the right should exist, the harms outweigh the benefits of that right. That's because apathy is bad for society. It's bad for minority groups, which RM himself said shouldn't be swept under the rug. This is particularly true for the black community.[10, 11]
7. If the problem is that I don't give an outlet for protest, I can solve for that. Ballots can include a box on every voting form allowing people to voice their disdain for the candidates listed. It can be listed as “no vote,” to be simple, and that would be a voice all its own. If this group becomes a substantial portion of the population, this is how their voice becomes heard. This turns his impact – I provide a voice for...
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