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A democratic country should have the right to decide whether to vote or not. It is strange that after decades of crawling up the political backside of the US, Australians don't have that right. Being fined for not voting reminds me of the old saying "you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink". The fine is not for failing to vote but for failing to have your name marked off a list! Forcing people to make a decision just means they'll make the easiest, quickest decision they can, not the best one. You need an informed electorate for compulsory voting to work. However, the reality is that nobody knows anything about the candidates and promotional material is not readily available. I'd rather 80% of people didn't vote than have them all just pick the first recognizable name on the ballot sheet. Then at least the government is elected by the 20% who care and make informed decisions. Otherwise it is largely pot chance who gets elected. Furthermore, compulsory voting doesn't ensure that the entire electorate is engaged in the democratic process. Those who don't want to vote can simply turn up and get their name marked off, without even putting pencil to paper. But you're seriously deluding yourself if you think that this is what all those who don't care about government do when they turn up to the polling booth. Voluntary voting at least ensures those who vote are the ones that care enough to do so. Perhaps somebody could enlighten me as to the reason why, to the best of my knowledge, Australia is the only 'democracy' that has compulsory voting. It is certainly not compulsory in the USA, England, Canada, New Zealand, Philippines or any other European or Asian democracy that I am aware of. Compulsory voting is, however, mandatory in most communist regimes.