Compulsory voting

Voting for all levels of government - federal, state and municipal - is compulsory. There has been much debate over making it voluntary, but so far things have not changed.

The Australian Electoral Commission has identified the arguments for and against compulsory voting (

  • For:
    • Voting is a civic duty comparable to other duties citizens perform e.g. taxation, compulsory education, jury duty
    • Teaches the benefits of political participation
    • Parliament reflects more accurately the "will of the electorate"
    • Governments must consider the total electorate in policy formulation and management
    • Candidates can concentrate their campaigning energies on issues rather than encouraging voters to attend the poll
    • The voter isn't actually compelled to vote for anyone because voting is by secret ballot.
  • Against:
    • It is undemocratic to force people to vote – an infringement of liberty
    • The ill informed and those with little interest in politics are forced to the polls
    • It may increase the number of "donkey votes"
    • It may increase the number of informal votes
    • It increases the number of safe, single-member electorates – political parties then concentrate on the more marginal electorates
    • Resources must be allocated to determine whether those who failed to vote have "valid and sufficient" reasons.

What do you think?  Have your say. Join the conversation below.


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Add your name and let’s keep Australian elections free and fair.

  • (@peterbb69) is following @voteaustralia1 on Twitter 2020-02-05 22:45:22 +1100

  • signed Enquiry into Preferential Voting 2019-05-28 12:33:45 +1000

  • signed One Person, One Vote at Every Election 2019-05-27 17:57:48 +1000
    I totally Agree! Voting in Australia by paper is in my opinion is out dated, it’s time that the Australian Government Electorate is Updated to a Secure Identification Online Voting System.

    I went to vote on 18 May 2019 no ID was asked.

  • signed Enquiry into Preferential Voting 2019-05-25 09:16:51 +1000
    WE need to change the system if we are to have just one vote for one Party, in the UK the DUP received a total of just over 200.000 votes they won 10 seats, and control the government, two other Party’s received almost 4.000.000 votes each they won 1 seat, that’s the same as having a cricket match where 1 team has 11 players and the other team 168 players . in India the PM s Party received 200.000.000 votes said to be a landslide win, yet 700.000.000 did not vote for him, that’s how the one voting system works, the minority always win, and that is why there is so much corruption in politics,