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The Forum > Article Comments > Fixing the vote > Comments

Fixing the vote : Comments

By Brett Walker, published 7/9/2007

Compulsory voting is bad enough so letís at least make the act of voting fair and transparent.

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While I will have to disagree on compulsory voting being a bad thing, I do agree with the rest of article.

Allowing people to vote as they intend rather than handing the majors the ability to anoint the final senate seat can only be a good thing.

I'll be adding this to my open government policy.

http://jamespurser.com.au/Policies/Open_Government
Posted by James Purser, Friday, 7 September 2007 10:17:19 AM
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I think the suggestions are excellent, except, possibly: "make ticket voting selections only allocate preferences to the political party selected, not to any others."

This would lead to votes surplus to the number of whole quotas achieved for a group being wasted.

From a perspective of democracy this may be preferable to having those surplus votes being allocated in ways that the voters are unaware of, but I think it is still problematic.

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I believe Independent Federal MP Peter Andren suggested that voters be allowed to vote preferentially for groups above the line. So, if there are, say 10 groups, only numbers up to 10 need be entered, instead of up to the order of 100. If it was only optional preferential instead of compulsory preferential, as it should be, then even fewer boxes would need to be numbered.

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I think nearly every voter, even those who don't give their first preferences to candidates of the two major parties, does have a view on which of the two major parties is preferable (or, perhaps, less undesirable) and should be encouraged to express that view using the preferential system.

However, in Queensland the optional preferential system has largely been turned in to 'first past the post' because nearly every party has miseduacted voter about preferential voting system.

This is unfortunate, but not a reason to make it compulsory to number all boxes (nor for that reason to make voting compulsory).
Posted by daggett, Friday, 7 September 2007 12:41:32 PM
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Brett Walker,

Why not (1) abolish compulsory voting itself, then there's a better chance that voters will actually know what they're doing. and (2) get rid of preferrential voting and introduce proportional representation in all lower houses.
Posted by mac, Friday, 7 September 2007 1:10:57 PM
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Focus on APEC's "democratic processes". What can we do to make this ASIAN PACIFIC MOMENT count.

South East Asia a forgotten success story.

Village Farmers struggle for subsistant livelihood.

We talk of APEC trade exchange in $ millions while village farmers have no land to farm.

Australia: What is the purpose of APEC's "democratic processes".

http://www.miacat.com/
.
Posted by miacat, Friday, 7 September 2007 1:37:17 PM
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Compulsion to attend the ballot box (usually seen as a compulsion to vote) is undemocratic. It also leads to a situation where, instead of working for the votes of all potential voters, the would be politician only needs to work on the minority of swinging voters. The majority vote one way all their lives. Their vote is given without thought, even when they do not like the policies of the party concerned.
In a democracy people have both a right and a responsibility to vote but there should be no compulsion to do so - and certainly no compulsion to attend the ballot box. People should be encouraged to vote - and part of that encouragement should come from having candidates who make people want to vote.
The Australian electoral system is riddled with fraud, multiple voting, failure to vote and the use of votes by others - particularly where the elderly and the disabled are concerned.
There are howls of rage every time the suggestion that we should have non-compulsory voting is raised. The major parties see it as benefitting them so they do not want to change. Others see it as something people should be required to do.
The reality is that it does not require thought on the part of most - and politicians get away with far too much because of it.
Posted by Communicat, Friday, 7 September 2007 5:18:24 PM
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Thanks for comments so far.

MySpace should be: www.myspace.com/savethesenate

bw
Posted by bitey, Friday, 7 September 2007 5:20:26 PM
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