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December 5, 2020

11/3/2020 10:18:00 AM
What if Voting Were Compulsory?

Dear Editor;
When I was leaving Australia in 1974 to begin my life here with my American husband, I had to apply to the local shire council to be formally removed from the voting lists. Why would I have to do that, you might ask? It was because of the rule that all eligible citizens must vote, or be heavily fined for not doing so, unless their health or another qualifying reason prevents them from voting.
Since without internet or cheap ways of communicating with friends who could tell me what was happening politically, there was no way at that time to be adequately informed for voting responsibly. Fortunately I had the paperwork involved in becoming a permanent resident of the USA, and was thus able to prove that I would be outside the country indefinitely, so was granted an exception to the rule.
Here, we know that roughly only half the eligible population votes in any election. We can thus assume that the remainder are not interested in what happens to the country and its citizens. In this election though, it seems many are being forcefully discouraged from participating in their citizen's voting rights through efforts to prevent voting by certain sectors of the population.
Perhaps we can compare the success of both voting systems through the degree to which those elected have controlled this Covid virus, or how available affordable health care is to all citizens.
Kay Ziegahn
Richland Center, WI

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