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42psi
15th Aug 2010, 13:48
Reading with interest the comments about voting for/against strike action on the various BA threads.

Started me thinking :eek:


Should voting be seen as a right or duty ... either in an industrial relations sense or democratic government ?

For example .. in the industrial sense (and thinking of the recent BA dispute particularly) should there be a "requirement/pressure" for all members to vote?

Perhaps by legally requiring strike/industrial action ballot to be approved by at least 51% of the union membership in the affected area (as opposed to a simple majority of those who vote).



In government (local or national) should there be a legal duty to vote ?


I've always in the past thought strongly that democracy and freedom of choice is as much about having the right to be an idiot if I choose :E


But .... is that simply ignoring that in a democracy there is an obligation as a member of that democracy to exercise the rights it confers..... ?


Often we seem to see that where there is a right to vote then more and more folks are not exercising that option.

Why is this?


Is it a sign of a declining mature democracy when it can no longer generate the interest/concern of it's citizens in it's direction ?

Checkboard
15th Aug 2010, 14:04
Requirement. (In Australia.)






All citizens are required to vote by law, in Australia, on pain of $110 fine.

Saintsman
15th Aug 2010, 14:15
I was in a union once. I didn't want to be but I wouldn't have got the job if I didn't join. I felt under no obligation to vote.

There are lots of areas in the UK where people vote for a particular party because that's the way its always been done. Is that really democratic?


BTW, do people who work for a union have their own union?

Mac the Knife
15th Aug 2010, 14:29
If you don't vote then you are by definition "conservative", i.e. happy with the status quo.

In a democracy, if you don't vote then don't moan

Mac

ArthurR
15th Aug 2010, 14:36
Some of us, don't have the right to vote (English and live in Germany)
democracy what democracy?

Lasiorhinus
15th Aug 2010, 15:19
You DO have the right to vote - just not necessarily in the country you happen to be living in.

Shack37
15th Aug 2010, 15:20
As one who has voted at every opportunity I believe the fall in numbers of voters can be attributed to the fact that many people now feel it no longer matters which candidate they vote for. In an age of ever increasing numbers of "career politicians" and the recent expenses scandals involving MPs from all parties, the electorate are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate between the clones.

Gertrude the Wombat
15th Aug 2010, 15:21
In a democracy, if you don't vote then don't moan
That's the bottom line as far as I am concerned.

I do occasionally get constituents going on about something and saying "and I'm never going to vote for you again". But when I look them up I find they've never voted in their lives.

Guess how much notice policitians usually take of people who choose not to vote and then moan about things afterwards.

42psi
15th Aug 2010, 15:26
Agree with the "don't vote .. don't moan" view :ok:


But is it time to say that voting is a requirement of being a citizen ??

hellsbrink
15th Aug 2010, 15:44
But is it time to say that voting is a requirement of being a citizen ??

In my view, compulsory voting should only be mandated if a vote for "none of the above" is allowed too.

Checkboard
15th Aug 2010, 15:46
But when I look them up I find they've never voted in their lives.

... so much for the secret ballot in the UK, then. :rolleyes:

42psi
15th Aug 2010, 15:56
... so much for the secret ballot in the UK, then. :rolleyes:
The person for whom you vote is secret .. the fact that you voted is not :eek:


That's why the party hacks outside the polling stations are always asking for your polling number .. it's so they know who's actually turned up and voted without having to wait for the official lists ....

..... as I undertsand it :}

Big Tudor
15th Aug 2010, 15:59
Conincidentally I was having the very same conversation yesterday (with an Aussie as it happens). I found myself making exactly the same statement as hellsbrink, but then wondered what would happen if 'None of the above' won?

Checkboard
15th Aug 2010, 16:04
In my view, compulsory voting should only be mandated if a vote for "none of the above" is allowed too.

I should clarify that turning up at the polling station and getting your name crossed off the list is compulsory.

What you mark on the voting paper is your own business, so if you want to write "none of the above" (an informal vote) then feel free, likewise if you want to submit a donkey vote.

radeng
15th Aug 2010, 16:06
You end up with a situation as in Belgium, where for quite long periods of time, they have no real government but things keep going. It breaks down eventually, of course.

You should always vote, even if you submit a spoiled paper. Once people stop voting, sooner or later, the politicians will remove the right.

hellsbrink
15th Aug 2010, 16:53
So true, radeng, and you could say that the situation here, where the world record for time without an actual elected government after an election is held, just makes you wonder if all the politicians are actually necessary!

con-pilot
15th Aug 2010, 16:57
In a democracy, if you don't vote then don't moan


One hundred percent agreement with that.

The right to vote was earned by someone's blood and one dishonors that sacrifice when they chose not to vote.

But that's just me.

Storminnorm
15th Aug 2010, 17:01
Voting should be Compulsory I think.Except for the Criminally insane.
Which lets most Politicians get away with NOT voting.

scr1
15th Aug 2010, 17:05
voting is a duty

and this is why

THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up


pastor Niemöller about nazi germany

Storminnorm
15th Aug 2010, 17:24
That says it all scr1.
That's WHY it should be a DUTY.
AND Compulsory.

Gertrude the Wombat
15th Aug 2010, 18:04
That's why the party hacks outside the polling stations are always asking for your polling number .. it's so they know who's actually turned up and voted without having to wait for the official lists ....
Correct.

For the benefit of non-UK voters, and UK voters who can't be bothered to vote and thus don't know how the system works, it goes like this.

(1) When the clerk hands you your ballot paper your name is crossed off the list. This is partly so that you can't come back later and ask for another paper.

(2) Some time after the election the candidates can ask for a copy of the "marked register", effectively a list of who has and who has not been crossed off.

(3) This information is likely to end up in the party's database, so that you've got a voting history for each person.

(4) Various uses can be made of this information. Without giving away any trade secrets, you can imagine for example that, come the next election, when you don't have enough volunteer labour to knock on every door and talk to every voter (and no party ever has remotly near enough volunteer labour to do that) you might choose not to waste time knocking on the doors of people who never vote anyway.

(5) Right, now, you don't get the marked register until weeks after the election. It's actually helpful to know whether someone has voted on the actual day, which is what the tellers sitting outside the polling station are for. This is so that you can cross off your own lists those of your supporters who have already voted, and thus not waste time knocking on their doors on polling day reminding them that there's an election on and will they please get their arses down to the polling station.

The marked register information is somewhat more accurate than the telling information (misheard numbers, numbers written down wrongly, people who refuse to give their numbers to tellers, etc), so although both go into the database later data analysis is more likely to be based on the marked register.

Pugilistic Animus
15th Aug 2010, 18:29
I would love to see one year in the US where absolutely no one votes---the clowns that have been forced upon us by the parties are ridiculous:yuk:

that would send a real message---Don't Vote

Um... lifting...
15th Aug 2010, 18:33
It's your duty, but to make it compulsory detracts from that.

pdRVQ4xwwmQ

Um.. Lifting... it took some sleuthing but I have fixed your link. For instructions on how to embed a youtube video, please see stickie at the top of the JB forum page.
Rgrds
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Caboclo
16th Aug 2010, 06:14
There was a movie a few years ago called "Starship Troopers". Stupid sci-fi B-movie, but there was one intriguing point. In that society, not all those who were born and lived in the country were considered "citizens". You had to perform some public service to earn the status of citizen and the rights that came with it. It's a truism that we don't value that which we get for free; if you had to earn the right to vote, perhaps many things would be quite different.

42psi
16th Aug 2010, 07:58
The marked register information is somewhat more accurate than the telling information (misheard numbers, numbers written down wrongly, people who refuse to give their numbers to tellers, etc), so although both go into the database later data analysis is more likely to be based on the marked register.


One of my pet hates this actually ..... or at least being stopped by these folks and asked to show my polling card on the way in to vote is :suspect:

I personally view that as interfering with my right to freely enter and vote without hindrance ...... I always refuse.

radeng
16th Aug 2010, 08:41
WE (both Mr and Mrs radeng) don't even bother going to the polling station. Postal voting is much easier, especialy when one is out of the country on election day. It avoids being asked who you are by the party workers.

Checkboard
16th Aug 2010, 09:52
There was a movie a few years ago called "Starship Troopers". Stupid sci-fi B-movie, but there was one intriguing point. The point where all of those fit girls (and guys) were naked in the shower? :E

The original book, by Robert A. Heinlein, goes into the philosophy a bit more, and is interesting but not workable IMHO.

MagnusP
16th Aug 2010, 10:25
Checkboard: Congratulations. You've revived my old interest in SF movies. I now have to go and watch the Alien series (Sigourney), the Fifth Element (Mila), Clash of the Titans (Judy Bowker) as well as Starship Troopers. :E

Gertrude the Wombat
16th Aug 2010, 10:52
One of my pet hates this actually ..... or at least being stopped by these folks and asked to show my polling card on the way in to vote is
They can't stop you. They can ask you, but if they physically obstruct your free passage into the polling station they are being seriously illegal, and if you complain to the presiding officer s/he should deal with it.

The most you can achieve by refusing to give your number is that you can harm the chances of your preferred candidate.

ORAC
16th Aug 2010, 10:58
Voting - Right or Duty ? They're not mutually exclusive. :cool:

Blacksheep
16th Aug 2010, 13:35
Some of us, don't have the right to vote (English and live in Germany) democracy what democracy?You DO have the right to vote - just not necessarily in the country you happen to be living in.Under the British system of democracy a German - or any other EU national living in UK has the right to vote in the local (but not the national) elections. A "Commonwealth Citizen" (i.e. a legally resident citizen of a member country of The Commonwealth) living in UK has the right to vote in UK local and national elections. On the other hand, while legally resident in foreign parts I was not allowed to vote in either the UK or the Foreign elections. I was disenfranchised by Britain and never given the vote in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore or Nepal.

( Not that Brunei has elections of course; Bruneians can only vote in elections while they are legally resident in UK)

42psi
16th Aug 2010, 17:20
They can't stop you. They can ask you, but if they physically obstruct your free passage into the polling station they are being seriously illegal, and if you complain to the presiding officer s/he should deal with it.

The most you can achieve by refusing to give your number is that you can harm the chances of your preferred candidate.


Moot point I suppose .. but as I walk in even simply saying "excuse me can I ...." effectively stops me while I respond.

I have complained in the past when they were standing where it blocked the doorway ... presiding officer said they'd been asked a few times to move already.

I have no problem at all with them stopping me on the way out .. that's what I believe is the resonable way of conducting this.....

Gertrude the Wombat
16th Aug 2010, 21:07
I have no problem at all with them stopping me on the way out .. that's what I believe is the resonable way of conducting this.....
That's what the law says, but in this case the law is an ass - pretty well nobody has still got their polling card as they leave, and they don't remember their number, so you have to ask for their name and address, which holds everybody up for far longer. (And takes longer for the data entry, and is even less accurate.)

galaxy flyer
17th Aug 2010, 00:30
Old joke....don't vote, it only encourages 'em!

Seriously, it is a right that should only bestowed on those who either pay taxes or own real property. Anyone else is only voting themselves more pork from the taxpayers

GF

corsair
17th Aug 2010, 00:41
If you don't vote, you can't complain about when they take away your right to vote. That might be the same day they take you away. The only rights you have are those other people allow you to have.

galaxy flyer
17th Aug 2010, 01:13
corsair

Not quite the view of Thomas Jefferson who told us that "all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights." The opinion that we only have rights that are given us implies that we are all subjects of dictators, merciful or brutal.

GF

chiglet
17th Aug 2010, 02:38
Eons ago, at my first Union "Meeting?" [at Manchester Airport] we had ALL the "bigwigs" there.
This is the "done deal"......London Airport, London Centre and Gatwick Airport will be "Super Grade Assistants", Manchester, will be "Normal" grades and Brum, Cardiff etc will be "lower" grades.....OK?
We ALL get a "Payrise".....:ok:
Just before the ["Projected" Massive YES vote] Sunshine here stuck his hand up and asked just how many validations the Assistants had at Heathrow, London Centre and Gatwick? Did it match me being valid on every Tower position, every Centre position? not to mention that I was about to start as a Flight Briefing Asst.
There was [as they say] a Deafening Silence....Then, when all the Assistants realised that they were being "Sold down the River" the brown stuff hit the whirly thing....
End of story, Manchester was a "Super" station, and I was [almost] PNG....'til I became a Uniom Rep....
Moral...
LOOK at what you Have
Look at what you May Get.....[Good OR Bad]
At the end of the day,IF "You" think that it IS worth it.....Good Luck

Cacophonix
17th Aug 2010, 06:19
Once could argue that while it is one's duty to vote, with that duty comes the right not to. I think some call that democracy!

Forcing a vote is often the way that an entrenched majority (or minority) in cases where a large percentage of the population is disenfranchised, or effectively so, ensure ongoing hegemony while keeping up the appearance of democracy (vide Brazil).

Belgium is a special case given the fractured nature of politics and culture there.

As for Australia I wonder how easy it is to 'enforce' such duty on those who have gone 'walkabout'?

Voter apathy could say more about the nature of power, politics and politicians than it does about democracy per se. I mean if the king is naked, why should his people be forced to vote whether or not he looks better in red or blue pantaloons?

That said, voter apathy is a major problem for democracy!

Edited to say - If one looks at the list of countries where voting is mandatory (even if not enforced) it is striking how few would make it on to the list of those that are great examples of democratic states.

One can only be wryly amused to note that in Bolivia, a paragon of democracy, the unfortunate citizen who neglects his voting 'duty' may lose the right to withdraw money from his bank account. Sums it up really!

Interesting study on Brazil.

Compulsory for Whom? Mandatory Voting and Electoral Participation in Brazil, 1986-2006 | Power | Journal of Politics in Latin America (http://hup.sub.uni-hamburg.de/giga/jpla/article/view/23/23)

Latin America contains approximately half of the countries in the world that currently make voting an obligation under the law. If we take the typical universe of 18 countries that have been analyzed exhaustively in the Third Wave of democratization (Brazil plus the Spanishspeaking republics, minus Cuba), we note that 15 of these countries have some form of compulsory voting legislationand another one on the subject generally..

http://csallen.myweb.uga.edu/lijphart_unequal_apsr_1997.pdf

Blacksheep
17th Aug 2010, 09:21
I'm one of those thinking people who think that Thomas Jefferson was, if not wrong, then at least not entirely right.

Inalienable rights do not necessarily include the right to vote or even to that ephemeral characteristic - citizenship. This ought to be an "earned right"; earned by participation or contribution to society. Those who do not contribute are then "Helots" - those who live within the community but are not citizens and have no voting rights. While I disagree with the Roman principle that the citizens exist for the benefit of the State, I don't entirely hold the converse opinion that the State exists for the benefit of the citizens. I believe that citizenship itself ought to be earned - by both participation and education. The State then exists for the benefit of only those who choose to participate as citizens.

Perhaps the best system of government lies somewhere between Aristotle's detested democracy and his preferred aristocracy, the rule of the 'aristos' (translated as "those who are best suited to rule".)

corsair
17th Aug 2010, 10:55
"all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights." You have to separate here; reality from aspiration.

While we would all like to believe we all have 'inalienable rights'. The reality is that we don't. The very fact that many of these rights have to be enshrined in legislation to protect them proves that. He would aver that these rights came from God thus making them inalienable. Unfortunately that isn't sufficent to protect them. Particularly as God is somewhat of a moveable feast, whose personality and views change at the whim of man.

In the real world we are granted certain rights depending on the society we live in. Those rights can be usurped at any time. Even Jefferson's famous two, life and liberty are routinely taken away by other people often in the interests of good governance.

So when they line you up at the wall and offer you a blindfold and a last cigarette. You may cry: 'You have no right to do this, Thomas Jefferson says so.' They may suggest you take up with him because you'll be meeting him in a minute or two.

Gertrude the Wombat
17th Aug 2010, 11:07
In the real world we are granted certain rights depending on the society we live in. Those rights can be usurped at any time. Even Jefferson's famous two, life and liberty are routinely taken away by other people often in the interests of good governance.
There never has been any right to life.

No society in history has ever guaranteed to every resident that they will receieve unlimited medical attention as necessary to safe or prolong life regardless of their, or their society's, ability to afford it.

42psi
17th Aug 2010, 11:52
I'm interested in the angle of what does being a member of a society entail ...


Can you be part of a society without having any personal obligations ..... ?


And/or .. does a society actually have obligations .. ?


At first glance there seem to be some obvious ones in each direction .. but I can see a problem in evaluating this ..


all of my judgements and evaluations are influenced by the society in which I live .... ?

42psi
17th Aug 2010, 11:55
There never has been any right to life.

No society in history has ever guaranteed to every resident that they will receieve unlimited medical attention as necessary to safe or prolong life regardless of their, or their society's, ability to afford it.



That's true .. but there appear to be many who insist they recognise a right not to have life removed by annother -------- without "due process" .....

Blacksheep
17th Aug 2010, 12:43
what does being a member of a society entail ...
"There's no such thing as 'Society' " - Margaret Thatcher.

Cornish Jack
17th Aug 2010, 12:46
This rubbish about 'you must vote' is just that - at least in the UK with our present system. Individual votes are pointless and powerless. The value of an individual vote in this country is TOTALLY dependent on where you live. If you have Tory leanings and live in a Labour 'safe seat' area your vote is pointless - same thing for Labour supporters in Toty 'safe seats'. That is just the effect of a system which can generate such things as 'safe seats'. Then when you allow unelected Civil Servants to modify the boundaries of constituencies such that the present incumbent loses his/her seat as a result, the whole thing becomes a mockery which only serves to entrench the disenfranchisment of the voting public.
If, and ONLY if, a system is introduced which ENSURES that every vote cast has the same value as every other, will compulsory voting make sense. Until then our so-called democracy is just a meaningless farce.

Ancient Observer
17th Aug 2010, 12:52
I wouldn't be quite as strident as that, but for UK elections one can go to a web-site to see how important one's vote is. I live in the Beaconsfield constituency, and without a nuke arriving unexpectedly, it will always be Tory. Whatever I vote is completely irrelevant.

However, I do think that we should have compulsory voting with a "none of the above" option. I'll stand as the prospective candidate for none of the above.

Blacksheep
17th Aug 2010, 14:26
Whatever I vote is completely irrelevant.Join the party of your choice and become active. By doing so and participating in putting 700 or 800 pairs of feet onto the street at canvassing time it is certainly possible to turn a seat round from being 'safe' one-way to 'safe' the other way in the space of two parliaments. The boundary fixers changed our parliamentary constituency from a safe Tory seat into a safe Labour seat some years ago. By whipping up enthusiasm among the faithful this was turned first into a quite wobbly Tory seat then, in the last election, into a very safe Tory seat, with a majority of the electorate (not just those who actually voted, but all of them). Meanwhile, in our ward, we've unseated two lifetime Labour incumbent councillors over the past two years and fully intend to remove the third next May. Democracy in action means stopping whinging about "proportional representation" or "transferrable votes" and getting involved.