In the first paragraph of this excerpt, Hunter makes an important claim. He defends the idea that Australia should adopt compulsory voting. However, is this an idea that has come of age or is it still premature? Read this excerpt and answer the following question:
Was compulsory voting an idea whose time has come?
Many proponents of compulsory voting have cited the benefits of such a policy as a way to improve public trust, boost voter confidence, and increase perceived integrity. But these benefits aren’t free. Compulsory voting involves a great deal of infrastructure, from tracking absentee voters to sending missed ballots. The pros and cons of this policy are well worth weighing against the cons.
For starters, it encourages voters to educate themselves about the issues and vote informedly. It also discourages people from abstaining from voting. While it’s true that compulsory voting encourages voting, it also increases the likelihood of fraud and vote-selling. Additionally, this policy would lead to wasted votes. Voters who aren’t familiar with political issues are easier to persuade. Moreover, candidates could choose to focus on low-hanging fruit and leave behind networks of supporters who are more committed to their causes.
The downside of compulsory voting is the potential for penalties for non-voters. The fines for non-voting would be small – $20 – and would not compound over time. Moreover, the fines would be set aside for modest community service. In addition, a conscientious objector provision would be included in the proposal. Further, compulsory voting would also decrease the possibility of political leaders catering to extreme views.
Was it an idea whose time has come?
William Carlos Williams famously said that an idea has more power than all the armies on Earth. But, sometimes, an idea’s time has passed, and it has lost its appeal. Perhaps this is a case where it’s time to let go of the conventional approach to literature and let it flourish without the constraints of time. After all, literature is an art form, and its purpose is to move, edify, or inspire us.