Mandatory Voting in Canada
Mandatory voting is a system where people are required by law to cast their vote during an election day. Anyone who fails to vote during the process is punished by paying a fine. Mandatory voting is not something new to the world. According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), 26 countries have laws that require eligible voters to register and participate in an election (idea.int). Australia is one of the countries where any citizen above 18 years of age is legally required to register and vote, and failure to do so attracts a fine of about A$20. As a result, Australia boasts a voter turnout of above 90% in almost every election. The debate, as to whether to introduce mandatory voting into the system or not, is widespread in Canada. So much so that a bill, Bill S-22, has been sponsored in Parliament to push for the idea. The main reason behind this is the decline in voter turnout experienced over the last century, with a record low of 58.8% during the federal elections and referendum in 2008. This paper will assess the effects of compulsory voting, using Australia as a case study, and evaluate if these results are feasible in Canada.
Countries with mandatory voting experience high voter turnout. One reason to explain this is that many people turn out because they fear being punished for not voting. This is not surprising behavior since it has been shown …
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