Is Mandatory Voting the Most Powerful Way to Increase Political Participation?

One of the reasons why someone might agree with this claim is that in countries that have already imposed compulsory voting, such as Australia, there is a $20 fine for not showing up to vote. This can lead to the issue of the vote becoming the “talk of the town” as people start discussing why there is a fine and realize that the reason for the fine is that voting is a very important step towards making a difference in the world around us. The fact that more people start talking may mean that more people will be tempted to vote because they do not want to pay the fine and get into trouble, and this will thus increase political participation.

Another reason why someone may agree with the statement is that the fine of compulsory voting can resurrect the topic of politics, as stated earlier, but this can mean that people who have never really learnt or studied about politics, may become interested. In addition, this may mean that they may go off and research different political parties that are running in their country and what each party wants achieve and this can mean that those citizens researching will most likely produce an opinion which will mean they may vote in the next election or referendum and therefore meaning an increase in political participation.

A reason why someone may disagree with the statement is because the idea that there is a fine if you do not vote, can cause an abundant amount of conflict. Some citizens may fail to recognise the reason behind the fine and the force towards voting and may want to protest against it. This can influence others and cause groups of people to come together and decide to fight against this rule. Consequently, decreasing political participation and further causing more problems, such as a divide in countries and the possibility of dangerous protesting.

In contrast, another reason why someone may disagree with the statement is because those who may find a new interest in politics because of compulsory voting, as stated earlier, may go and research different political parties online. They may find numerous different opinions and arguments challenging each individual political party and this may cause sheer confusion which may cause the person to disengage with politics and therefore cause voter apathy. This can therefore result in not an increase in political participation. In conclusion, I do not agree with the statement.

I think that the most effective way to increase political participation is to educate young people in schools about politics. Different ways to do this may include incorporating it into school curriculums, having assemblies time to-time on different political parties and different manifestos close to an election or perhaps having a visitor who specialises in this area come in and talk about politics and this may also be an opportunity for those with queries to ask. All of these strategies can mean that teenagers will have more knowledge about politics and can further push them to make a decision about which party they support etc. The youngsters of today are our future and are the only ones who can make a change. If they are educated on politics and issues surrounding the world and the way which different political parties want to solve them, it can hugely encourage them to vote in future elections therefore increasing political participation.

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