[E-voting] Compulsory voting

Ciaran Quinn election at polarbears.com
Thu Sep 8 20:16:50 IST 2005

Ita Ryan wrote:

>I can't understand why people see increased election
>turnout as an end in itself.  Why clog up the system
>with dross votes?  An increased turnout caused by
>increased interest in the election is valuable. 
>Increased turnout caused by allowing uninterested
>citizens to participate without moving from their
>sofas is not.
One of the effects of compulsory voting on preferential systems is that 
people who are voting to avoid being fined will very often vote 1, 2, 3, 
etc. from the top of the ballot, greatly increasing the electibility of 
those whose surnames are at the start of the alphabet. There is a well 
known example of this from Australia, when the Australian Labor party 
won an election by nominating only candidates whose surnames began with A.

In Australian stv elections, where voting is compulsory, the ballot 
papers are randomised using "Robson rotation". If there are 10 
candidates then candidate X would be in position 1 on 10% of the ballot 
papers, in position 2 on 10%, etc.

While obviously it would be possible for an electronic voting system to 
handle Robson rotation, it is not something that Nedap Powervote can handle.


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