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Should voting be compulsory?

Voter turnout in individual EU Member States varies wildly. 

Belgium and Luxembourg almost always top the list with voter participation greater than 80%. However, these outliers are easy to explain, in both these countries voting is compulsory and people who don’t cast their ballot risk being fined. The argument in favour of extending compulsory voting to other countries is that if too few people vote then it weakens democracy, allowing dedicated (and more extreme) minorities to capture the political process.

What do our readers think? 

We had a comment from Julia arguing that “Voting should be compulsory. […] Voting is compulsory where I live too. It motivates people to check what politicians are actually saying before they vote.”

We also had a comment from Marc, who wants to see deliberative democracy treated like jury service: “Local civic assemblies should be [mandatory]. Political decisions need to be made from the bottom – up, not from the top -down.”

To get a reaction, we put Julia and Marc’s comments to Ulrike Guérot, Chair of European Politics at the University of Bonn and founder of the European Democracy LabYou can see her responses in the video above.

Should voting be compulsory? 

Would it strengthen democracy? Or would it just trample over people’s rights?

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