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Report No. 255

B. Evaluating the Arguments For and Against Compulsory Voting

9.11. The arguments surrounding compulsory voting can be broadly divided into concerns of participation, equality, democracy, legitimacy, and other concerns. These will be discussed below.

(i) Participation: Does compulsory voting increase voter turnouts and improve the quality of political engagement?

9.12.1. Arend Lijphart in his influential 1997 essay made two strong arguments in favour of compulsory voting as a response to the "unequal electoral participation" in America. These involved the effect of compulsory voting in countering voter apathy by increasing turnout and in making the electorate more politically aware and engaged.387 The underlying assumption here is that compulsory voting will result in increased voting and consequently, more informed political participation and debate.

387. Arend Lijphart, Unequal Participation: Democracy's Unresolved Dilemma, 91(1) The American Political Science Review 1 (1997)



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