Compulsory Voting

"Compulsory voting is a system in which electors are obliged to vote in elections or attend a polling place on voting day. If an eligible voter does not attend a polling place, he or she may be subject to punitive measures such as fines or community service." - Definition by Wikipedia.

Compulsory Voting has had a long history, dating back to Ancient Athens.

Athenian democracy held that it was every citizen's duty to participate in decision making, but attendance at the assembly was voluntary. Sometimes there was some form of social opprobrium to those not participating. For example, Aristophanes's Acharnians 17–22, in the 5th century BC, shows public slaves herding citizens from the agora into the assembly meeting place (pnyx) with a red-stained rope. Those with red on their clothes were fined. This usually happened if fewer than 6,000 people were in attendance, and more were needed for the assembly to continue.


James Campbell, state politics editor of the Herald Sun newspaper, explains that the issue is not black and white.
"Both parties have toyed with the idea of abolishing mandatory voting, but the reason it never happened is no-one has been entirely certain about who would benefit from getting rid of it."
Supporters of the system say Australia boasts some of the highest civic participation in the world, with a reported 94% voter turnout in the last federal election, compared with about 65% in the UK's 2010 general election and an estimated 57% in the 2012 US presidential election.
"High voter turnout is a myth when you consider that 10% of Australians are not even registered. When that myth is debunked, I think you'll see a dramatic shift in public perception of compulsory voting," Libertarian columnist Jason Kent said. That number only reflects registered voters who turned out.
The Netherlands:
The Netherlands instituted Compulsory Voting in 1917 and abolished Compulsory Voting in 1970, making 1967 the last compulsory election. Turnout then decreased by 20%.
Belgium has the oldest existing compulsory voting system, introduced in 1892 for men and 1949 for women. People aged 18 and over who do not vote face a moderate fine or, if they fail to vote in at least four elections, they can lose the right to vote for 10 years. Non-voters also face difficulties getting a job in the public sector.
In 1952, Bolivia began to give voters a card to prove their participation at an election. If voters cannot show this proof-of-voting card during the three months after the election, they can be prevented from drawing their salary from the bank.
Greece, not voting makes it difficult for citizens to obtain a new passport or driver's licence. There are no formal sanctions in Mexico or Italy but there are social or arbitrary sanctions. In Italy, the latter are called "innocuous sanctions", which make it difficult to get a daycare place for a child, for example. 
In Singapore, non-voters are removed from the electoral register until they reapply, providing a reason for their abstention. 
In Peru, voters must carry a stamped voting card for several months after the vote in order to obtain some services and goods.
Venezuala abandoned compulsory voting in 1993, with a drop of 30% in voter turnout.
1. Beck, Katie. "Australia Election: Why Is Voting Compulsory?" BBC News. BBC, 27 Aug. 2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
2. "Compulsory Voting." Map. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Nov. 2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
3. Frankal, Elliot. "Compulsory Voting around the World." The Guardian. The Guardian, 4 July 2005. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.

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