Compulsory Voting in India – What a Joke!

The latest lunacy РForcing people to vote! So politicians can abstain from voting in parliament and who need not even attend parliament. Politicians, who like Jayalalitha are released from jail after spending 18 days in jail, have no responsibility foisted on them whatsoever. But the people have to vote Рoh yes!

Those¬†who want more laws like forcing people to vote…have you not yet realized that India already has too many of them? And are you so naive to think that this will not be massively misused? Here is what will happen:

  1. Corrupt officials will deliberately “misplace” voter IDs
  2. 20% of everyone who goes to vote will not find their names on the lists
  3. Officials will demand a bribe to get a card “tatkal”
  4. You’ll be forced to pay the bribe since you don’t want to go to jail
  5. Even if you fight the case, you’ll be tied up in courts for years and years
  6. Combine crores of these cases with an already overburdened judicial system and we’ll have “no voting” cases getting resolved in the year 2246 AD
  7. If you implement just a plain fine, it’s going to affect poor people disproportionately. I don’t care about Rs. 500. But for the person who clears the garbage on the road, it’s a HUGE amount of money
  8. If you’re sick and can’t go vote, or are disabled, or for whatever reason, please pay a bribe to avoid being fined or jailed. If you don’t pay, you will eventually prove yourself innocent in court. Err…I mean your great-great-great-great grandchildren will prove you innocent.
  9. In this situation, the facility to pay a bribe is a good thing! It’ll save you years and years of hassles fighting useless court cases and taking up the court’s time that would be better spent on important stuff. Like you know…REAL crime!

Wow – I can’t believe people are so IGNORANT to think “Oh, just create a law! Everything will be solved!”. Poor naive fools.

I’m not even touching on how unconstitutional this measure is. Voting is a right, not a legal obligation. If someone wants to have nothing to do with the running of the country, that is their choice. You can’t force it on them. But the Gujarat government already knows this. Which is why they will never ACTUALLY implement this law. It’s just sad/amusing to see so many simple minded people thinking that simple minded measures like this are what India needs right now!

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  1. And I thought we’re a democracy :(


  2. The point is never about implementation.. we can always find a way to implement.
    The question is whether it is right ?

    And definitely, it is NOT right. So, no matter how easy or difficult it is to implement, we should not do it.

    What’s this of making whatever we like everyone to do into a ‘compulsory’ act (or law) ? They already made education ‘compulsory’. If tomorrow, government thinks it is good for everyone to plant atleast one tree, will they make it into a ‘law’ ?


    • In reply to Murali

      Agree completely. The implementation is not the point. Even if it was possible, it would be wrong. But I’m concerned about this mentality of “have more laws”, and to hell with how practical they are.

      But as you said, the idea itself is illegal.


  3. I too am against the idea.

    You’ve touched upon everything I felt.

    Though I don’t think the implementation would be so draconian as I don’t think they’ll be able to legislate such punitive actions as you’ve speculated, but the compulsion part is against the very spirit of individual liberty.


  4. Yes i am too completely against it…The article is very interesting and informative as well….


  5. it should be implemented so that every person should cast their vote


  6. Advait Joshi says

    You’re addressing the wrong point. It is not compulsory voting you should be condemning but the resolving the corruption and bribery that faces the Indian diaspora. Compulsory voting, while it does result in a slight reduction of the notion of freedom, results in the government being elected as seen as a much more legitimate governing body… and anyways, once implemented, compulsory voting will only be seen as a civic duty of every individual comparable to any other civic duties citizens of a state perform e.g. paying taxes.
    – Furthermore, the voter isnt actually forced to vote coz its a secret ballot.


    • In reply to Advait Joshi

      I don’t think there’s a problem with viewing the legitimacy. After all, those who care will vote. For those who don’t vote, they don’t care about the legitimacy/illegitimacy in any case.

      As for being a civic duty, I don’t believe we can compare this to paying taxes. Money is something very concrete. A person earns money, and they pay for the services the government offers them. But voting…the government is essentially asking everyone to be interested in politics.

      It’s entirely possible for me to be a person who never reads the news, and never switches on the television. In fact, I can be completely unaware that an election is even happening! Forcing people to vote means making it compulsory for people to take a deep interest in something that may not interest them.

      When I was 18 and in college, there was a time when I didn’t know that the Prime Minster of India had changed :)

      For me, that does not qualify as a slight loss of freedom. For me, that’s a very large loss of freedom – one that I find very frightening. And one which I’m sure the court will strike down if the government ever gets down to passing.


      • In reply to bhagwad

        I agree with Bhagwad.
        I think we get a wee bit misguided by the % figures. On Average a constituency has about 1 Lakh voters, out of which even a 40% voting means, 40,000 people voted. That is a huge number. 40K people come together to decide is not something to be casually treated.

        There are 2 assumptions we generally make that make up this myth.
        1. The non-voting 60% somehow know/do better than the 40% who voted, and hence their vote probably changes the result for the better.
        2. More data means good data. There is a marked difference between 10 people voting and 1000 people voting. But between 40k & 60k, there may not be much difference in quality of data.

        As a thought experiment, on the contrary, if you reduce the voting to just a few 1000’s, but control the quality of voters with screening, you will get a better results.

        Getting more people to vote isn’t good at all. Getting bad data out is more crucial than collecting more and more data.


      • In reply to Murali

        “On Average a constituency has about 1 Lakh voters, out of which even a 40% voting means, 40,000 people voted.

        2. More data means good data. There is a marked difference between 10 people voting and 1000 people voting. But between 40k & 60k, there may not be much difference in quality of data.”

        Isn’t it between 40K and 100K? Which is a much larger and more real difference

        If you reduce the vote to just 1000s, but control the quality of the voters…wut? How would you sample for this? Intelligence? Intelligence, especially politically (if you use the measure of IQ for intelligence) doesn’t necessarily translate, and it also doesn’t mean that you will be a good person who votes for the people. Plus, you’d end up getting more rich people than poor people most likely (more education and mental stimulation), and small sample size shenanigans.

        All that assuming the concept stays pure, except holy fucking lol, what an easily subvertable system. It’s a one-way ticket to a shadow dictatorship in the real world.

        Ultimately, “make everyone vote”, i actually think in a vacuum making everyone vote is a good idea;voting is important and not enough people do it (then again when given the opportunity i haven’t done so either yet, so what kind of hypocrite does that make me), that said it’s coming from the part of me that treats everyone else like small children to be told how to act and that part-while occasionally right-shouldn’t be in control of policy decisions. I think bhagwad’s a mild bit pessimistic about how it’ll turn out vis-a-vis criminal and corruption stuff but that’s definitely a big problem too.

        Here’s an idea:give out incentives to vote instead of making everyone do it, try to make it easy to do it as well and easy to learn about what you’re voting on. For example, you go to the nearby voting booth, but meanwhile a big speaker booms out info and views on what’s being voted on. If you voted every time, you get a 5% tax rebate? (If you’re really serious about the ‘forced to vote thing’ consider just taxing non-voters more, ideally in a way that it doesn’t crush poor people too.)


      • In reply to tehy

        I agree regulating voters isn’t a good idea, and that is precisely the reason I said, its just a thought experiment.
        I think we often get into implementation details and end up doing what can be done easily rather than what must be done even if it is difficult.
        1. Mandating people is force. Force by government is not freedom. It is not right.
        2. Even the argument that it brings better results is on false premises. Getting more or all people to vote will not get better results.

        Yes, in a representational form of parliament, where lets say not only the majority-voted, but also anyone with more than, say 10%, also goes to the parliament and has a say commensurate with the voted %, your argument holds.
        But, in a first-pass-post type of government, the number of voters does not effect outcome, as much as we all think it will.

        Your idea about tax cut seems good, just that everyone, even the ones not interested in the outcome will vote. It really is equally bad. It is something we don’t seem to understand.. conflict-of-interest. “Selling your vote for a packet of liquor is conflict-of-interest. So is voting for 5% tax cut”.

        Bad people need to be restricted by law and bad laws need to be restricted by constitution.


      • In reply to Murali

        That’s actually a great comparison – voting for alcohol and voting for a tax cut are the same thing!


  7. A video explaining the problems due to First-Past-The-Post:

    And it so rightly predicts the problems we see today.
    And some alternatives provided in the same channel.

    We need to find a medicine to fix the ailment we have, and not try to fix any ailment, with a medicine we have.


  8. I just came to know how parties win elections. The voter list is made in the taluk office. Parties bribe the officers. The local candidate will know approximately who will vote them. And who are against.

    Bribing removes names of people not in their favour. People from other areas or purchased voters names are added to list.

    Many people find their names missing on Election Day. They may have voter card from previous election but if your name is not on latest list you can’t vote.

    List is released a month before election. Very few check if their names exist. If name is missing people just say forget it I can’t make effort to re-register.

    Fake voters vote. Criminals win.

    That’s how aap won in Delhi. Communist parties brought in all Bangladeshi voters and out of state guys and added to Delhi voters list.

    Aap got money from US, christian organizations in Netherlands and Germany. This was used to enroll fake voters.

    I was wrong in thinking voter machines are manipulated. The taluk office is where democracy dies.