Voter turnout in individual EU Member States varies wildly. Belgium and Luxembourg almost always top the list with voter participation greater than 80%. However, these outliers are easy to explain, in both these countries voting is compulsory and people who don’t cast their ballot risk being fined. The argument in favour of extending compulsory voting to other countries is that if too few people vote then it weakens democracy, allowing dedicated (and more extreme) minorities to capture the political process.

What do our readers think? We had a comment from Julia arguing that “Voting should be compulsory. […] Voting is compulsory where I live too. It motivates people to check what politicians are actually saying before they vote.”

We also had a comment from Marc, who wants to see deliberative democracy treated like jury service: “Local civic assemblies should be [mandatory]. Political decisions need to be made from the bottom – up, not from the top -down.”

To get a reaction, we put Julia and Marc’s comments to Ulrike Guérot, Chair of European Politics at the University of Bonn and founder of the European Democracy Lab. You can see her responses in the video above.

Should voting be compulsory? Would it strengthen democracy? Or would it just trample over people’s rights? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Image Credits: (cc) Flickr – Keith Ivey
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11 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Chris

    Need some parties which actually represent what people want then and not just globalist WEF puppets or crazy socialists. Maybe if voting is compulsory then election manifestos should be legally binding

  2. avatar
    Jevgeni

    Today those who are no voting are mostly demonstrating that none of the parties are worth of voting. If voting would be mandatory then there should be a candidate “against all” but i am afraid political elite will not like the results.

  3. avatar
    Karel

    Voting in Belgium is compulsory, hence the high percentage.

  4. avatar
    Крис

    No. Voting is a civil right. So is the choice not to vote. If voting is compulsory then elections are actually not free.

  5. avatar
    Clotilde

    It’s hard to say, a good portion of abstention comes from political uneducation and lack of access to resources that would help individuals better understand those who represent them. If voting were mandatory, it would have to come with a nationwide deployment of resources to help politically isolated populations recognise themselves in the candidates.

  6. avatar
    UncleSam

    Yes it should, otherwise the empty votes will go for some other party and it is very irresponsible towards the political life of the country not to vote. If you did not vote then you should not complain who is in power.

  7. avatar
    TheDarkTemplar

    Yes, because otherwise the votes will go to some other party and this is irresponsible political behavior.

  8. avatar
    Pedro

    Yes. Who does not vote should not benefit from social security.

  9. avatar
    Lili

    I understand when people don’t feel like supporting any political party, but people shell vote also parties which support and want to protect nature and ecological environment! It is a MUST!

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