PDA

View Full Version : Why don't they vote?


Juud
23rd Nov 2006, 11:23
Parliamentary elections in Holland yesterday, with an 80% turnout.
That means 1 in 5 voters couldn't be @rsed to participate.

With millions in the world literally dying for the right to vote, what's with these people? Blaming it all on 'lying politicians' is too facile IMO, you get the politicos you deserve after all.

What's voter turnout like in PPRuNers' countries? And are there still places where voting is obligatory? What do governments do to encourage people to vote, what is done in schools to teach kids the value of their vote and the moral obligation they have to use their vote?

OK, probably a far too boring subject for JB, I'll start looking for that tumbleweed icon of Jer's bro.

G-CPTN
23rd Nov 2006, 11:44
UK turnout 2001 National election 59.12%:-
http://www.election.demon.co.uk/ge2001.html

(Out of interest, the percentage of the total electorate of 45 million that voted FOR New Labour was 25% . . . )

ORAC
23rd Nov 2006, 11:46
You shouldnīt vote for politicians, it only encourages them..... := :=

verticalhold
23rd Nov 2006, 11:57
I become greatly vexed when people complain about the government and then I find they didn't vote.

Steps onto soap box.

I'd make voting mandatory. To not vote shows a lack of care for the future of the country, and a lack of respect for those who died fighting for freedom and the right to vote. The ballot paper should have a "None of the above" box for those so inclined, and no excuses except coma/ imminent death should be acceptable for not voting.

Steps off soap box, switches to rant mode: The people who have three times elected our current corrupt, lying charlatans should have the right to vote removed due to excess gullibility.

Rant mode off, sweetness and light mode engaged:)

Oi!! whos made off with all my posts? I had loads yesterday and only 126 today

Al Fakhem
23rd Nov 2006, 12:05
Actually, 80% sounds quite good in comparison with other countries without compulsory voting. Can remember seeing voter turnout figures below 50% in Switzerland.

woolyalan
23rd Nov 2006, 12:18
it may be that some of that 20% felt that there was no candidate that could represent them. Therefore, if they voted they would be voting for someone they didnt want to represent them anyway.

On the other hand, if there is a little box on the polling form that says "Indifferent" or "None" or something similar it could reduce the percentage of none voters.

Just a thought

Wooly

UniFoxOs
23rd Nov 2006, 12:26
Steps off soap box, switches to rant mode: The people who have three times elected our current corrupt, lying charlatans should have the right to vote removed due to excess gullibility.


Do you refer to the current set of corrupt, lying charlatans or the previous set? Seems to me that anybody who voted for either of them should have the right to vote removed. Unfortunately we don't get a lot of choice. Wonder how I'd get on in the next election if I changed my name to "None of the above"?

Cheers
UFO

"The only man ever to go into Parliament with honest intentions was Guy Fawkes"

pulse1
23rd Nov 2006, 12:31
Holland has proportional representation so I imagine there would tend to be a higher vote as PR gives the illusion that your vote counts.

Grainger
23rd Nov 2006, 12:34
Take a look at what's on offer in the UK and you'll see why most people don't see much point in voting.

Agree with vh, wooly and UFO - a "none of the above" option would probably get the turnout up a bit.

verticalhold
23rd Nov 2006, 12:36
UFO;

The last lot were bad, but this lot horrify me. Going to be interesting to see a sitting prime minister hauled off for questioning about "cash for peerages" or corruption in any other terms. Even the last crowd didn't manage that one. I hope that the copper leading the investigation enjoys the opportunity. The Downing Street spin machine hasn't managed to blacken him as much as it did the late Dr David Kelly, or others.

Maybe we should form a none of the above party. A recent survey I read, but can't remember where from stated that four years as an MP could make you rich for life. Apparently it's all to do with the pension scheme and employment opportunities after parliament:ok:

James 1077
23rd Nov 2006, 12:38
With a right to vote there should also be a right not to vote. It is morally wrong and undemocratic to force somebody to vote for something.

However you should be able to force people to go to the polling stations in order to register their contempt for politicians; and I believe that all ballot papers should have a "none of the above" box for this eventuality. And if "None of the above" gets the most votes then nobody gets elected and new people have to stand.

This should sort out the situation, at least partially, where we are having our rights revoked to a huge degree by a government which was only voted in by 25% of the population (and who would have thought that there were 15 million utter idiots in this country anyway)!

Spui18
23rd Nov 2006, 12:43
Holland has proportional representation
and so has the rest of The Netherlands.

G-CPTN
23rd Nov 2006, 12:47
I hope that the copper leading the investigation enjoys the opportunity.
Well I don't suppose he can look forward to a peerage in the retirement honours list . . .

Juud
23rd Nov 2006, 13:20
Al, I agree that 80% doesn't sound too bad.
But when you look at the actual numbers, that's 2.5 million people who did not vote! To my mind, that's a hell of a lot of people.

pulse1, please would you explain what you mean when you say the illusion that your vote counts? The idea that it's all for nothing anyway might be exactly what makes the non-voters tick, so I'm mighty interested in knowing how you have arrived at what appears to be your conclusion.

James 1077 in The Netherlands (Yes Spui, I can take a hint ;) ) there is the option to vote 'none of the above'. The voting computers apparently have the option to vote 'blanco' and the red pencil voters can simply refrain from ticking any box at all. These votes are counted as legitimate.

Airbus38
23rd Nov 2006, 13:44
An interesting thought I had about turnout...one of those things you think of while not having much else to do...

I know for a fact that you can be on the electoral roll at more than one address. For example, a friend of mine was renting a house in his home town, as well as sometimes living away from home while at university. He was also registered at his family home. I also received a polling card at two different addresses for the last election. Is this something that might skew the figures a little way? For example, all university students might be registered in two places, all people who own more than one property etc?

Could anyone advise on the legality of this, or indeed on how many people get more than one card through the post? Or am I talking rubbish?

James 1077
23rd Nov 2006, 14:24
James 1077 in The Netherlands (Yes Spui, I can take a hint ;) ) there is the option to vote 'none of the above'. The voting computers apparently have the option to vote 'blanco' and the red pencil voters can simply refrain from ticking any box at all. These votes are counted as legitimate.

In the UK these would simply be counted as spoiled ballots and no reason given (ie writing "I hate all of these liars" on the ballot would be the same as accidentally voting for 3 people because you love them all / are indecisive).

What is needed is a separate box to tick to show that you wouldn't trust any of them with your tea money, let alone a budget of billions.

tony draper
23rd Nov 2006, 15:16
I think politics and those involved in same are over reported in the UK,people are just turned off or utter cynics, rather like oneself,the news media is obsessed with the personalites(one uses that word in its loosest sense)and the minutiae of who said what to who and what did he/she really means is he/she destined to be sacked /promoted'his her s latest gaff,did he really say that? ect ect,frankly it bores most people to the back teeth apart from a bunch of nerdy politics wonks in the in the news rooms.
The reporting of politics has descended to reallity tv level and elections to a celebrity get me into here.
So I thingk the answer to low turn out is simply we are sick of politicians and politics.
IMHO.
:rolleyes:

oojamaflip
23rd Nov 2006, 17:58
I think the problem is that there are two groups of people who don't vote. The first are people of good conscience who cannot find any candidate agreeable and therefore cannot put a cross on the paper. The second are people who can't be bothered to leave their TV dinners and soap operas long enough to think about the issues and leave the house to vote.

The solution must be mandatory voting in conjunctiuon with a 'none of the above' option. There is massive disaffection with politics and politicians in this country but there is no way to measure it. At the moment we can have a government claiming a mandate with 40% of a poor turnout. A full turnout with a 'no penalty' protest vote would surely give a much truer reflection of peoples feelings toward their politicians and their policies.

Two's in
23rd Nov 2006, 18:38
When a survey over here (USA) recently noted that the politician with the largest financial contributions usually won the election, some wag concluded that this was indeed proof that in a true democracy rich people certainly know how to pick a winner!

By the way Judd, 80% is a massive turnout by any standards. Were they handing out free Grolsch at the polling station?

matt_hooks
23rd Nov 2006, 19:44
I think compulsory voting goes against some of the most basic tenets of democracy.

In a democracy you have many rights, based on choice. One of these is the right to choose who to vote for, or indeed whether you want to vote at all.

When we had elections at university for student union officers we had an option called RON on each ballet. This was for the people who did not like any of the options, and stood for reopen nominations. This actually took place on a couple of occasions where none of the candidates could garner sufficeint votes against RON. Worked really well in the (granted relatively small scale) environment of the university.

tony draper
23rd Nov 2006, 20:32
That is a brilliant idea Mr Hooks, stuning in its simplicity,if enough voters in a area tick None of The Above,new candidates have to be selected and the election re run ,such a good idea that the politicians will never ever agree to it,always said a choice limited to either one complete tossser or a different complete tossers isn't exactly democracy.
:rolleyes:

cparker
23rd Nov 2006, 20:42
I think compulsory voting goes against some of the most basic tenets of democracy.


Bet the suffragettes of age would applaud that comment sir.

The very point of democracy is that its "by the people for the people". Unless we keep that in mind we'll be left with totalitarianism.

As an aside matt_hooks dont ever moan about anything the Government, be it at an national level or local level has influence over.

:= := := := := := := :=

CP

Juud
23rd Nov 2006, 21:33
Two's in, no Grolsch as far as I know, but tv coverage of various party headquarters last night showed virtually everybody with either a beer or a glass of wine in their hands. :)
You say 80% is a massive turnout by any standards, so I had a look at various countries and found this (http://elections.gmu.edu/turnou2.gif) link.
(also tried to figure out how this voter registration business in the USA works, and what the philosofy behind is, but I'm not that much clearer on it so far)
I guess the 80% is the glass half full half empty syndrome huh?

Do you compare voter turnout to the lows in some countries (UK pruners are always saying how bad turnout in the UK is) or do you compare it to the ideal situation where everybody entitled actually votes?
Obviously I look at the latter and you at the former ;)

matt_hooks I disagree with you on compulsory voting. I am for it. Bit like taking your cod liver oil. If you're not smart enough to do what's good for you, Big Momma forces you to do it anyway.
Drapes you're elsewhere bemoaning the fact that the UK media have turned politics into a personality cult, yet here you fall for the same trick. How material is the candidate? Isn't it the party programme that is supposed to be credible, rather than the person? And does the party programme change at all when we merely shift one candidate for another from the same party?

tony draper
23rd Nov 2006, 21:55
Trouble is with the Party system we have here Mamasan is the candidates elected to represent our interest and the interests of our area owe their loyalty first and formost to the party, the interests of the area and people who therein dwell come seondary to the interests of the party.
Frinstance I want the person I elect to represent me and mine, and my town not to devote his/her time to worrying about whats going on in Africa or the like or to devote any time to whats going on elsewhere in the world,I want him/her to looks after my interests and the interest of my area alone,that is will be his sole priority we should have a second house to do to look at the larger picture.
The system like most systems needs torn down and rebuilt occasionaly.
:cool:

reynoldsno1
23rd Nov 2006, 21:58
80% is massive - used to happen regularly in NZ but it has slipped down to the low 70's now - the younger generations don't seem to attach as much importance to voting nowadays, or politics in general... can't blame them.
ISTR that a turnout above 50% in the US is regarded as "massive" .....

pulse1
23rd Nov 2006, 22:24
juud,

pulse1, please would you explain what you mean when you say the illusion that your vote counts?

I know that I sound very cynical but, as an instinctive Tory voter, I have not voted for them in two of the last three elections (I have voted, but not for Blair). PR sounds attractive to me (but not the LIb Dems), but when I talk to friends who live and work in Holland, I am not convinced that PR does much for the reputation of politicians there either.

I have been given the impression that they like PR in Holland because it minimises government meddling in the way the country is run. By the time they have agreed amongst themselves who will run the country, it is time for the next election. Maybe more people vote there because they try to produce a power limiting stalemate which stops the politicians meddling.

James 1077
24th Nov 2006, 14:38
The illusion your vote counts thing is very important.

Under the UK system I had a friend who didn't bother voting ever; not because she didn't want to but because she lived in a Labour controlled area that had always been Labour controlled and the was no way that even getting every non-labour votor in the area to vote against even 30% labour turnout would make a jot of a difference.

If she had of voted then what would her vote have been worth? Absolutely nothing because her constituency would go labour regardless and there is no way to change this.

Furthermore it is well known that down south our votes are worth less than half (and in some cases 1/8th) of what some Scottish votes are worth as the constituencies have such differences in population.

Having said all of this my personal opinion is that I like the constituency approach as PR often gives very small parties dominant control of parliament (as they are needed for coalition purposes and so can press their views on the majority of people who didn't vote for them).

What is needed is a constituency basis for Government with a "supervisory" house that is elected on a PR basis mid-way through a Government's term.


As for the comment about voting for parties that, in my mind, is the last thing that you should do. You should always vote for the person who you think would best represent you and your constituency; regardless of their political party. One of the big problems with politics is that politicians aren't willing to vote against their party even if they think it is what their constituents want.

UniFoxOs
24th Nov 2006, 15:04
As for the comment about voting for parties that, in my mind, is the last thing that you should do. You should always vote for the person who you think would best represent you and your constituency; regardless of their political party. One of the big problems with politics is that politicians aren't willing to vote against their party even if they think it is what their constituents want.


Totally agree, I've been saying this for years - maybe we should outlaw political parties altogether.

UFO

maxter
25th Nov 2006, 00:08
........However you should be able to force people to go to the polling stations in order to register their contempt for politicians; and I believe that all ballot papers should have a "none of the above" box for this eventuality. And if "None of the above" gets the most votes then nobody gets elected and new people have to stand.

This should sort out the situation, at least partially, where we are having our rights revoked to a huge degree by a government which was only voted in by 25% of the population (and who would have thought that there were 15 million utter idiots in this country anyway)!


James, I reckon you are on to something here. I would go further and say that if you were on the ballot where "none of the above" won then you cannot stand again at the next poll. Eventually we may get someone that is worth electing.

There is nothing more demoralising than standing in the voting booth trying to work out who you rate as the least "fool/liar/cheat/(add your own description)":yuk: to vote for.

I would also agree that political parties that force elected official to toe the part line are the death of true democracy. I would prefer to think that the person I voted for represented me not some anonymous face in some party office.

Maybe that is what is wrong in Iraq. Maybe they look at our so-called democracies and realise that it is regularly dictatorship by another name when most of the power seems to be congregating to those parties/people that have the biggest cheque book. I think I still prefer our system to Saddam's or the fanatics of various guises tho.:ok:

Davaar
25th Nov 2006, 03:40
Trouble is with the Party system .
:cool:

I was active for some years in constituency politics. Early on, by drawing fury on myself at a "bear-pit session" (Ask any questions! This is YOUR moment! Is it Hell!!!) I learned Lesson # 1: The moment you join the party is the moment you give up thinking about policy. Between elections your job is to run barbecues, sell hot-dogs and hamburgers, go to Rah Rah breakfasts at 0700 AM, SEND MONEY, and send money. Then send money. When the "writ is dropped" your job is to revise voters' lists, "work the telephones", hire the campaign office, organise teams to knock on doors, knock on doors, knock on doors. Send money. To me the miracle is not that so many bad people are elected, but that so many good people do get elected, against all the odds. Amazing. Send money.

If on the other hand you want to see how the non-party system works, try running for school board in a cross-city election, forty candidates for twenty seats. Spend your own money. Who ever hears about you? Few. The election results show that eighteen or so of the twenty elected are in straight alphabetical order from the list on the ballot paper. Your name is Simpson or Thomson or Yule. Too bad, man. Anderson and Bennett and Campbell are laughing. Funny thing, that.

In running for SCHOOL BOARD what does the electorate ask? Call upon call, morning, noon, and night: What is your position on abortion? You are for it? BIGOT!! You are against it? BIGOT!!
You try to keep an open mind? BIGOT!! Who do you think you are, anyway? My daughter could have been a lawyer too. BIGOT!!

arcniz
25th Nov 2006, 06:50
Like weddings, elections exist to create the illusion of a positive choice having been made in a meaningful way.

If 'none of the above' were on the ballot, I reckon it could win the majority vote nearly every time, in nearly every election. This would tend to undermine the politician's franchise for action - the construction of which is the main point and purpose of the ritual.

Elections are most useful as a safety valve - to reduce the actual shooting when folks are disaffected with government by providing some chance of picking a different bunch of crooks to govern. Not clear how this fits the marriage analogy - maybe tis more like a pointy stake through the viscera.

flower
25th Nov 2006, 08:29
I would be against compulsory voting, that takes away the whole concept of democracy.
However a better education to the people to realise just how important it is to vote and how people died to obtain the vote wouldn't go amiss.

It is a shame the Monster Raving Loony party hasn't been around as it used to be, with some of the options we have had of late there would be a good chance the MRLP would by now have MP's

Polikarpov
25th Nov 2006, 08:53
...It is a shame the Monster Raving Loony party hasn't been around as it used to be, with some of the options we have had of late there would be a good chance the MRLP would by now have MP's

Their infiltration has been so subtle no-one's noticed they now have a working majority in the Commons, the cabinet and the Prime Minister.

Binoculars
25th Nov 2006, 14:20
Good one, polikarpov!

I would be against compulsory voting, that takes away the whole concept of democracy.

flower, just what part of the concept of democracy would it take away? Perhaps that strange concept held by some that democracy means the freedom to do exactly as we want? You find them everywhere, even here, complaining bitterly about the lack of freedom of speech.

Compulsory wearing of seat belts, compulsory education to a certain age, compulsory taxation (ever heard of a voluntary taxation system that works?), compulsory licensing of drivers (even if it's only to the point of driving around the block without funning into anything), are all these things affronts to the concept of democracy too?

*disclaimer*.... my role as devil's advocate on this post does not necessarily reflect my views on compulsory voting.

tony draper
25th Nov 2006, 14:59
And had the Monster Raving Loony Party ever by some fluke won power,we would have detected a suble change from the boffo fun zanny anticing Raving Looyist in power to something much much more sinister,tiz the nature of the beast.
I think Mr Davaar has come near to it,to become a candiate one has to sell one's soul to the party spout its lies do complete 180 turn on all you previously held dear, hold in your head six completely differing points of view and wholehearted believe in them all,depending on who you are speaking too, stand in seats you know you have no chance of winning,yet claim with complete sincerity you are a racing cert, stab contemperaries in the back, become numb lipped kissing the right arses,small wonder when finaly your bottom settles on that green leather bench in the house you are a totaly flawed human being.
:rolleyes:

One understands it is now permissable to start a sentence with "And" and "But"
:cool:

G-CPTN
25th Nov 2006, 16:08
One understands it is now permissable to start a sentence with "And" and "But"
:cool:
Go on then, FSL - please demonstrate the use of "And but" or would you prefer "But and"?

Dan Gerous
25th Nov 2006, 20:06
I think that if a Monster Raving Loony candidate was ever elected, he/she/they/it immeadiately had to resign. As for PPR we have it up here in Scotland for our parliament. It may sound good, but in effect it allows the no hopers to get into parliament. Can't comment on anyone else's reasons for not voting, but I am no longer registered to vote. I took this step after my local council sold the information on the electoral roll that I gave in confidence. I know that now you can opt out of this particular little scam, but the damage is done. I find it just a little disturbing that any shop in Britain can ask you for your post code and house number, then tell you who you are!

tony draper
25th Nov 2006, 20:18
I see the SNP are promising independence in a 100 days should they win power,one seems to recal a plump short arsed efeminate half Italian Jockistani expat promised summat similar upon his return to Scottish soil.
:rolleyes:

Gertrude the Wombat
25th Nov 2006, 20:50
Could anyone advise on the legality of this, or indeed on how many people get more than one card through the post? Or am I talking rubbish?

In the UK you may not vote more than once in any one election.

So if you are legitimately on the electoral role in more than one place (eg because you are a student) then you (probably) have two votes in local elections, because each council counts as a separate election, but only one vote in a general or European election. However, if you are registered in more than one place for a general election you get to chose in which of those places you vote - one would naturally go for the most marginal constituency.

To reply to some of the other points:

(1) In our local elections round here, we get turnout of around 40% in hotly contested marginal seats, but it can easily be below 20% in "safe" seats where nobody believes that their vote is going to make any difference.

(2) I am one politician who is perfectly happy to vote against my party colleagues when I feel it necessary. Naturally that doesn't usually happen - one wouldn't choose to belong to a party that one usually disagreed with!

Huck
25th Nov 2006, 21:21
I dare any of you to walk around a US Walmart at 9 pm on a Sunday night, take a good hard look at the clientele, then wax poetic about the attractions of mandatory voting. Back to the poll tax, I say....

Lon More
25th Nov 2006, 21:28
Juud, despite making my home in Limburg for more than 30 years and pay dutch taxes, because i have not applied for Dutch nationality, I have no vote in general elections.
Wasn't there a revolution in some backwater about no taxation without representation?

G-CPTN
25th Nov 2006, 23:06
I dare any of you to walk around a US Walmart at 9 pm on a Sunday night, take a good hard look at the clientele, then wax poetic about the attractions of mandatory voting. Back to the poll tax, I say....
Do that in the UK at T*sc*s and you'll find a predominance of East European (Poles).
Bring back the Pole Tax. :E

brickhistory
25th Nov 2006, 23:14
I dare any of you to walk around a US Walmart at 9 pm on a Sunday night, take a good hard look at the clientele, then wax poetic about the attractions of mandatory voting. Back to the poll tax, I say....

But if you seen the clientele at a Walmart at 9pm on a Sunday night, that means you were there as well, so the inference is............................






:}