34% of people able to vote in the UK do not use their vote. Read that again let it sink in for a moment. We live in a world which is fuelled by democracy, the people choose the government they want so they can take action based on our best interests. But it has come to light that not every person eligible to vote actually casts their vote. So that begs the question: should voting become compulsory?
Looking at this at face value, no I do not think it should be made compulsory because we all have the freedom to vote and it should be our choice. If we want to make a difference, then yes cast your vote make your voice heard, but for those that do not wish to be caught up in the decision, who do not mind the outcome then leave them too it, let them be bystanders. All they want to do is watch the world go by.
What happens when not everyone votes? Well, it could be argued that without those votes we cannot say that we live under a democracy, not everyone has chosen, not everyone has been represented. That leads to uncertainty, would the outcome have been different if the other people had voted? It was an unfair vote not everyone was represented. Does this affect the overall result?
However, if you look at the cause a bit closer you may begin to agree that voting should be compulsory. Why? Because then you know from votes the overall consensus of the country and its opinion on the matter and there can be no uncertainty caused by this. For example the Brexit vote: not everyone in the country voted and so that aroused uncertainty because although, yes, the vote to leave won it was always battling with the fact that it was not a choice of ALL the people, the foundation of democracy.
Looking at it from a different angle, let us say that voting is made compulsory what happens then? Does politics change because they know people WILL vote? Strategies would become hardened and it would put a more aggressive view on politics and the government because that 34% that were bystanders before are now potential votes for a party. Parties would change, having to accommodate for a potentially wider audience.
As far as this is concerned another question burns in my mind: what would be an appropriate way to monitor this? What would be the consequence of not voting? A fine? Jail time? This is the side of the story which should be considered the most, what would be the backlash of not voting. What could possibly account for something that is ultimately a personal choice?
Although another argument may be that some people just do not want to vote, they do not have an opinion on the matter. What I say to that is: that should be an option, it should be an option to not care about the outcome of the vote. Because then ultimately even though the individual did not sway the poll one way or another, their vote counted, their opinion was heard. It could even open up a view to others that felt obliged to vote that can now say `No, I do not agree with any of this`. At least the government will know the opinion of those that do not have an opinion on the matter. The government can be certain that the word of the people is the word of ALL the people, no matter what it is.
With every movement there will always be a backlash, to this particular thought: people have the right to vote, it is the freedom of political expression. A right we all have. So yes, it would make it easier to come to a conclusion on the results of a vote if everyone voted, fulfilling the democratic stance this country takes. But it would take something away from what we have built up over the years, freedom to be our own person with our own thoughts and opinions, and ultimately that is all that matters.