There’s no better case for Australia’s compulsory voting system than the current wave of voter suppression laws sweeping the United States.

But only if you've got some picture ID. Picture: Thinkstock

In the late 1800s, after African Americans were given the vote, Southern states made it a requirement that voters pass a literacy test and pay a fee to vote. It took the Supreme Court until 1966 to rule these methods of voter suppression unconstitutional.

This year, in this election, Americans in 32 of 50 states will be required to present identification in order to vote. They will be required to show photo ID in 17 states, including the crucial swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Hampshire.

More than 21 million US citizens do not have photo ID. In 2000, the election hinged on under 600 votes in Florida.

Those without photo ID are predominantly lower income, African American, Hispanic, Asian American, young, or elderly. Demographically, they’re much more likely to vote Democrat. It’s no surprise then that it was the Republicans who pushed voter identification laws through legislatures in every state except for one.

Republicans argue that requiring photo ID to vote prevents voter fraud by stopping people from claiming they’re someone they are not. It’s undoubtably true. But the argument still doesn’t stack up.

Over the past five years the Federal Department of Justice has uncovered only 120 cases of voter fraud. The five years before that, while President Bush was doggedly pursuing the issue, they couldn’t find a single case of impersonation.

It seems it’s hard enough to get an American to vote once, let alone twice.

Photo identification is not as prevalent in the United States as it is in other countries. While State Courts have given varying judgments on the new laws, a case is yet to make it to the Supreme Court. And while voting IDs themselves must be free, the process for obtaining them can be costly and burdensome.

The elderly may be required to send and pay for a copy of their birth certificate from interstate. The young may have to drag their parents in person to a state government department – not so easy in rural Texas or Pennsylvania. This is all when almost half of Americans don’t find it worth the hassle to vote anyway.

The swing states where Photo ID is now required account for a whopping 69 of the 270 Electoral College votes required to win the Presidency. Bill Clinton spoke at length a private event recently about his concern that if this election is close, the suppressant effect of these laws could swing the outcome.

Some Republicans hope so.

Mike Turzai, the House Majority Leader in the swing-state of Pennsylvania listed as his achievements, “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania. Done.”

A recent poll by the Wall Street Journal showed Mitt Romney’s support among African Americans was exactly 0%.

I wonder why.

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    • acotrel says:

      06:36am | 01/10/12

      So it looks like we are destined to get another Republican fool like Dubya with the potential to destroy the world ?  I wonder when the Yanks will feel that the other people on the planet are protesting at their underhanded stupidity which gave us the GFC amongst other things? We will pay for George Bush Junior for decades, thousands will starve, because he is a moron who was empowered under their dodgy electoral system. !

    • daniel says:

      09:45am | 01/10/12

      I very much doubt the world will suffer but Americans? Absolutely. And despite how much Australians think the banks strip ‘em of every cent, compared to the US, we’ve got a strong regulatory system thanks to successive ALP and Coalition governments. So it’s highly unlikely our government would have to bail out any of the major banks and let taxpayers foot the bill for years to come.

    • Al B says:

      12:06pm | 01/10/12

      Daniel our govt will indeed have to bail out banks if the property market ever hits the skids. Regulations or not…we could end up like ireland more so than the united states. Having a ‘big four’ system could be as risky down the track as it looks strong now…

    • Jack says:

      03:11pm | 01/10/12

      You bonehead Acotrel. The GFC was initiated by Bill Clinton who made it illegal to give more housing loans to any particular racial group, what the dummy didn’t realise was that this meant financial organisations provided loans to people who couldn’t pay them back just so they wouldn’t be fined for racial discrimination. Bush continued along the same path.

      Also voters without ID are probably illegal immigrants or even people on holidays!! Wake up.

    • the cynic says:

      03:44pm | 01/10/12

      acotrel . As this article is about voter suppression here are a few questions you may like to grapple with.
      1. Why is it an assault on people in requiring them to have a photo ID to vote?
      2. Would you be happy to have illegal aliens and all manner of those with questionable affiliations like drug runners and wetbacks voting in an election that will decide your quality of life for years to come?
      3. Why should people who live in the country illegaly, paying no taxes but still soaking up the government services for free have the right to vote?
      4. How does a photo ID amount to voter suppression? Or can you twist this fact as well?

      Personally cannot see any problem at all, here in Hong Kong Government photo ID is free, and MUST be produced at voting time. The entire population has one.

      No different than anyother form of ID.  Drivers licences, Employer ID card, Student cards etc. Nobody complains about having to get and show them when asked . Why the vociferous campaign from the left to stop voter ID becoming law?
      Ulterior motives no doubt , like Gillard’s shameless embracing of the open border policies resulting in mass importiation of extra guaranteed future Labor voters. Just like all left leaning governments getting as many people reliant on Government handouts as possible to stay in power at any cost.

    • Rose says:

      04:36pm | 01/10/12

      Why do you assume that people who come here as asylum seekers or refugees will be, or remain, ALP voters? Fairly broad, unsubstantiated assumption there!

    • the cynic says:

      05:24pm | 01/10/12

      Rose in this point I make no assumptions . It is an easy point to prove correct, You feed a cat for a few days or a dog and it will cling to you like a limpet mine,  same with people, put them on welfare with access to the free gravy train and they aren’t going to bite the hand that feeds them.Nobody is that stupid.  Even the challenger to the US presidency Mr. Rommney acknowledged a short time back this very same point in a speech to supporters that to quote, went something along the lines of “I am not even going to waste my time to chase the vote for the 47% of Americans receiving a government handout as they will vote for Obama no matter what.”  One could assume that the vast campaign resources that Mr Rommney ‘s advisors has available would know what they are talking about with the Presidency of the USA at stake. The situation would not be so different than here. A drowning person will cling to the nearest thing available to stay afloat. Likewise if something is free, recipients will take it, especially with no strings attached. That is human nature anywhere. Take one look at that Egyptian Iman creep who managed to stay here after being deemed unacceptable, he is and has scammed over a million bucks from our system in welfare, living in 2 houses with his tribe. Do you think he would be voting for Abbott ?  I don’t think so .

    • Rose says:

      05:58pm | 01/10/12

      That’s funny, because I know plenty of people who came here as refugees and asylum seekers, and many voted Liberal last time round. I think you’ll find that after a while everyone will vote according to whatever their priorities are and, refugees and asylum seekers, once established, have very similar priorities to people who have been here since birth, and some will feel those priorities best served by the ALP and some Liberal.

    • inspiredfool says:

      07:24am | 01/10/12

      Ben, go look up “non sequitur”.

    • DocBud says:

      09:27am | 01/10/12

      My thoughts entirely. It is quite possible to be opposed to both voter suppression and compulsory voting without any contradiction in one’s arguments.

    • marley says:

      10:05am | 01/10/12

      Yup. Couldn’t figure out what the argument about “suppressing” voters has to do with compulsory voting.

      Anyway, back in the days of the civil rights movements, I remember activists and Democratic party loyalists running massive voter registration drives to make sure that minorities were able to vote.  It’s not rocket science to give those who don’t have photo ID a hand in getting it.

    • Rose says:

      01:02pm | 01/10/12

      Marley, political parties should have no role in making people able to vote by bussing them to polling booths, helping them get voter I.D or any other such measure. Enabling voting should be the job of an independent body such as our electoral commission. All that is happening in the US is the very blatant suppression of some votes and purchasing of others.

    • marley says:

      01:38pm | 01/10/12

      @Rose - why shouldn’t parties and civil rights activists help people get registered to vote?

    • Rose says:

      02:03pm | 01/10/12

      Quite simply because they are unlikely to provide assistance to anyone who is unlikely to vote for them, i.e they are selective in who gets to vote. The system should be such that the political parties and lobby groups have no say in who gets to vote, they should be limited to providing information about their policy platform, allowing voters to control the rest.
      A system such as we have, where everyone has equal access to register to vote, to attend a voting booth and to cast that vote because they have the protection of these things being controlled by an independent body, the Electoral Commission, is the better (maybe not perfect, but definitely better) option. Allowing political parties to influence accessibility to voting is, in itself, a form of corruption.

    • Al B says:

      02:19pm | 01/10/12

      would pre poll voting slips sent in the mail here by political parties also count as enabling voting?

    • marley says:

      02:26pm | 01/10/12

      @Rose - everyone in the US has equal access to register to vote.  Their system is quite similar to our own.  What the activists (and the parties) have done in the past is educate people to register, and help them with the process if need be.  That is a positive thing if you happen to be a poorly educated black or hispanic confused by the system.  There is nothing corrupt about it.

    • Rose says:

      02:52pm | 01/10/12

      From what I have read and heard Marley, you seem to be looking at this with rose coloured glasses. Are you denying the efforts by Jeb Bush and his ilk to alter access to voting for some? Are you denying that by requiring photo ID that some are restricted in their ability to cast their vote? Are you denying that by holding the election on a Tuesday, and having such long waiting times for people to cast their vote, that some are restricted in their ability to cast their vote? Are you denying that the use of the new machines had a negative impact on the fairness of the election?
      There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the American system is an extremely inferior model, because despite what is written and claimed, that there are far too many who have obstacles placed in their way restricting their ability to participate in the electoral system.

    • DOB says:

      03:00pm | 01/10/12

      I think Ben is actually saying that our system of voting - ie the compulsory system - makes it easier to vote and stops people playing about by making laws that prevent people from voting. In that sense I dont think his argument is a non sequitor. It just depends on whether in considering “compulsory voting” you include the fact that our compulsory voting system makes it very easy to vote…

    • marley says:

      03:01pm | 01/10/12

      @Rose - read the argument again.  I am saying that some of the obstacles can be overcome by activist political parties and interest groups, and you are calling it corruption for them to do so.

    • marley says:

      03:31pm | 01/10/12

      @DOB - but the argument, if that’s what he’s trying to say, doesn’t hold water. It’s as easy to vote in non-compulsory Canada or Germany as it is in compulsory Australia.  The compulsory aspect of voting here has nothing to do with his underlying thesis.

    • Rose says:

      03:36pm | 01/10/12

      Marley, the truth seems to be that if parties are going to help people overcome these obstacles that they would only help those who are likely to vote for them, and actively discourage those who would vote against them, that’s why it is corruption. I prefer that the help come from an independent body who can not benefit from providing this ‘help’.

    • zac says:

      07:47am | 01/10/12

      America is not a democracy, it is a joke!

    • marley says:

      08:20am | 01/10/12

      That’s why so many people want to migrate there, I guess.

    • Rose says:

      12:55pm | 01/10/12

      America is a democracy, just a very corrupt one. Their whole system makes the buying and suppressing of votes not only legal but commonplace. People may migrate there thinking they are going to the ‘greatest democracy in the world’, but they aren’t. Just because it is an improvement on their countries of origin doesn’t mean that is a fair democracy.
      The Australian democracy is based on a hybrid system using the best bits of the Westminster and US systems (with little bits from elsewhere also thrown in), but has been designed to avoid most of the pitfalls. It’s not a perfect system, but is far less open to corruption and tampering than the US system.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      01:16pm | 01/10/12

      I think the ALP/Labor especially are pretty good here at manipulating the compulsory voting system which makes for a great deal of coercion at the poll booths. 

      Whatever problems are occurring in the US voting system, I maintain it is far better to have only people voting who actually have an opinion and have given some thought to an election and issues. And my opinion is constantly reinforced every time I walk around a place like Kings Cross, or similar, and see all the dead heads (or brain dead ) people inhabiting that place alone. But they all HAVE TO vote. Absolutely frightening!

    • Rose says:

      01:39pm | 01/10/12

      “tell it like it is’”, I find it far more frightening that the likes of Gina Reinhardt get to vote and have so much influence in our system, they cast their vote with the express aim of increasing their own power and limiting the power of those less well off. Understanding that many of the less well off are so because of the policies put in place by the well heeled.
      You should try listening to those you seek to marginalize (even further), you may actually be surprised at the reality of why they are where they are and what they feel is needed to change things. Many of them will surprise you with their absolute understanding of what needs to change, they are more likely to be less self serving than those you want to restrict the vote to!

    • marley says:

      01:56pm | 01/10/12

      @Rose - the American system has its problems.  The Australian system isn’t a lot better.  How about the “unrepresentative swill” in the Senate?  How about the factions in both political parties, and the lack of democracy in either?  At least the supporters of the two main parties get to decide who runs for president;  the supporters of the ALP and the Coalition have no say in who leads their parties, or who becomes PM.  And one party is hostage to its union financiers, the other to the big end of town. The corruption exists, all right;  you’re just not seeing it.

    • Rose says:

      02:20pm | 01/10/12

      Marley I absolutely agree that there is corruption in the Australian system, but just not in terms of political parties deliberately manipulating the electoral rolls as in the US. The American system is an absolute disgrace and to call it a democracy is a joke when you you look at the extent that Jeb Bush and others went to to control who can and can’t vote, The worst interference I can remember her is Howard (surprise, surprise) shutting off registrations to the electoral roll once an election is called.
      That the public gets to elect their President isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be either, a poorly performing President is almost untouchable. whether you agree with the removal of Rudd or not, the fact remains that if a Prime Minister fails to have the confidence of his party, there is an avenue of redress. Short of impeachment, what protection do the Americans have in the face of a poor President?

    • Dead hed says:

      02:32pm | 01/10/12

      A retarded prejudice that all the “dead heads” vote labor and shouldn’t be allowed to vote. You’ll probably find most don’t vote or are passionless to either side. You can also opt out by never filling in a form after you turn 18 and I’m sure many do, I know a couple. You don’t get a fine cos you’re not on the roll.

    • gobsmack says:

      08:03am | 01/10/12

      It’s ironic that the Republicans took the USA to war and spent billions of dollars ostensibly to give the people of Iraq the chance to participate in a democratic system of government while at home they are trying to make sure that as few American citizens as possible have the opportunity to vote.

    • KH says:

      12:55pm | 01/10/12

      And it isn’t even just ‘photo ID’ - I read they vote mid week - which for most people would be a work day.  I’m guessing that a lot of blue collar workers can’t get time off to vote…..........effectively ensuring that a whole lot more people are so inconvenienced by it they just don’t bother signing up.  It certainly is an interesting method of ‘democracy’..........

    • Blocker says:

      01:53pm | 01/10/12

      Yes they vote midweek, and the booths cannot cope with the level of participation so it can take 3-4 hours of waiting to vote.  So if you work the standard working week, there really is little opportunity to get out there and vote. It’s not like you can pop down there at your lunchtime, and if I remember correctly you have to vote at your local electorate. So if you work somewhere differently than you live then it is even more hassle.

    • marley says:

      02:10pm | 01/10/12

      The Americans have advance voting.  Last time around, almost a third of voters voted before polling day.  This time around, they think it might be as much as 40%

    • Peter says:

      02:27pm | 01/10/12

      Having to vote on a working day boosts the vote from non-working, welfare dependent Democrat voters, and reduces the vote from working, tax-paying Republican voters.

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:04am | 01/10/12

      Ultimate freedom is anarchy.  The most powerful nation on the planet militarily (and they still are, make no mistake) is in the hands of a fellow who is so casually racist that he can convince not a single person who isn’t a white (male) caucasian to vote for him.

      The problem however isn’t even that, it is politics itself.  It’s a game now, played for power by people unscrupulous enough to seize it.  That’s it.  There or here, it’s not filled by idealistic people who want to make the world a better place; it’s an inbred clubhouse, with father’s sons and mother’s daughters lifted into the ranks to continue the “noble traditions”.

      There like here, it’s a race to the bottom.  America did a grand thing appointing Obama to the Presidency (and to be honest, I think they’ll do it again).  The right have some great arguments in favour of their way of life; the only problem is, anyone who doesn’t share them gets killed in the process.

    • Bruce says:

      09:43am | 01/10/12

      “The right have some great arguments in favour of their way of life”. Clearly this is correct in terms of american politics, a country with 2 major right wing political parties is part of their problem. The Republicans being ultra conservatives and the Democrats being very right wing Liberals. Little wonder the largest economy in the world can not even get agreement on a universal medical scheme.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      10:02am | 01/10/12

      Why did America do a “grand thing” in appointing Obama?

    • Rose says:

      03:51pm | 01/10/12

      “Why did America do a “grand thing” in appointing Obama?”....because look at the alternative!!!

    • Al B says:

      08:26am | 01/10/12

      Compulsory voting = a very lazy democracy. A country of know nothings or very littles should not be forced to attend polling boothes let alone vote. Ensure compulsory attendance at a bookstore for a generation first, then maybe it could work.

      For all America’s faults, the people who turn up are much more engaged. At least more than here on average. Their process ensures a better spread of views, even if the majority can still be swayed with glib grandstanding and cool guy/nice lady politics. So while we have more minor parties, their major parties are broader churches. No need for ‘conscience votes’ there.

      And as far as photo ID laws being voter suppression, i guess that makes us super suppressed! I agree they are stupid laws as it is impractical to rig an election this way. Better to dumb people down and feed them a steady diet of political sportscasting to distract from real issues.

      I guess the best outcome is to make government smaller, and society more agorist, so that the prize on offer is not so appealing to the more machinist orientated political class. The game of democracy has become far more central than the policy outcomes anyway.

    • Salec says:

      09:21am | 01/10/12

      The only reason there is no conscience votes in the USA, is because they have loose party discipline. Every vote is a conscience vote. Although this system has some advantages, it also has disadvantages, like extreme pork barrelling.

      In any case, the way representives vote has nothing to do with their voting system. I don’t really know how you can say their major parties are broader churches. They are right, and further right.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      10:05am | 01/10/12

      @Al B, the photo ID laws in the article are referring to needing to display photo ID in order to cast your vote, in Australia you don’t have to present photo ID, just give your name and address. Oh and even the stupidest person on earth has as much right to vote as the smartest person on earth.

      In fact your comment is exactly why there was never any assistance for the poverty-stricken, those who could “afford” to vote weren’t concerned about those who couldn’t vote.

    • Lib Dribbler says:

      11:33am | 01/10/12

      When the Liberals win voters are smart. When they lose voters are idiots and the ppl who didn’t vote for them shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

    • Al B says:

      12:17pm | 01/10/12

      Well i’d argue that under voluntary voting, there is a lower percentage of ‘stupid’ people voting as the electorate shrinks ...and that is a good thing for an informed electorate. While stupid people have every right to vote, we’d be better off if less of them did! So its not about taking away their right to vote, just not forcing them to attend ...

      Glad to know we dont need ID here i had been showing it the whole time i’ve been voting. Will leave the wallet at home next time lol

      As for conscience votes being standard over there, this is the whole point. It means on voting there is more room for variation in views, and thus it is broader within the major parties. They may be further right, you are assuming this is a bad thing. At least the fringes of the right will push for smaller govt.

    • Rose says:

      01:07pm | 01/10/12

      Al B, define stupid! Do you mean stupid in the sense that they don’t vote the same way as you, because that’s what this sounds like.
      Non-compulsory voting is not a good option as far as I’m concerned, every single person should be required to vote and it is a commitment that only needs to be exercised on average twice every three or four years (Federal & State). By requiring every one to vote there can be little of this voter suppression (although Howard gave it a good shot by closing the electoral rolls as an election was called) and there is less inequality as there is less incentive to ignore the disadvantaged in favour of the big end of town.
      I like that the great unwashed get a vote here, it keeps politicians a little more honest when they are held accountable by the people they are allegedly governing for.

    • marley says:

      01:40pm | 01/10/12

      @Rose - the “great unwashed” seem to get as good a deal in countries which don’t have compulsory voting, such as Canada or Sweden or the Netherlands, as they do here.

    • Gerard says:

      01:37pm | 01/10/12

      “it keeps politicians a little more honest when they are held accountable by the people they are allegedly governing for”

      And that’s exactly why people who don’t know what their representative has been doing for the last three years should not be charged with the task of holding them accountable. By all means, allow them to vote- just don’t penalise them for choosing to leave it to those who actually know and/or care about what the government is doing.

    • Rose says:

      01:57pm | 01/10/12

      Because we have compulsory voting we also have a system that requires resources to be available so every single person has access to cast that vote. As such the electoral commission has to ensure that whether you live in the remotest part of the country, the inner city, a nursing home or hospital or anywhere in between you have access to the voting process. Non-compulsory voting will remove that imperative and, while it may still appear to be equitable, there will no doubt be a drop in resources negatively affecting many people’s ability to vote.

    • Rose says:

      02:16pm | 01/10/12

      People may not know exactly what their representative has been doing for the past 3 years and maybe that’s why they may vote against them. I for a start couldn’t tell you exactly what my MP has been up to, leading me to believe that, living in a relatively safe seat as I do, he hasn’t been up to much.
      Compulsory voting offers us extra protections as the Government must ensure that if the are going to compel people to vote they must also make it accessible, that we would lose if we go to voluntary voting. Besides, if you don’t want to vote you can legally choose not to by just having your name crossed off and not voting. If anyone is seriously going to complain about having to give up a few minutes every couple of years to do that they are just being absolute whingers.

    • Al B says:

      02:15pm | 01/10/12

      Well Rose, whatever your good intentions may be ...compulsory voting results in a higher number of uninformed persons voting, regardless of their persuasion. To me ‘stupid’ is defined as most of our voting population ...so if there is a way of reducing the size of our electorate there’s no doubt it would lead to engaged voters making up a higher percentage of the electorate. But dont worry political staffers, there’ll still be plenty of dumb dumbs to go around ...your jobs are safe…

    • Gerard says:

      02:36pm | 01/10/12

      “People may not know exactly what their representative has been doing for the past 3 years and maybe that’s why they may vote against them.”

      And in an optional voting system they would be free to do so.


      “the Government must ensure that if the are going to compel people to vote they must also make it accessible, that we would lose if we go to voluntary voting.”

      A ridiculous assumption. There is no reason why the accessibility of polling facilities would need to change if voting wasn’t compulsory.

    • Rose says:

      03:54pm | 01/10/12

      It may not need to Gerard, but I have absolutely no doubt that it would. If governments could save a buck by not having to provide access in areas where to do so is expensive, and unlikely to to provide them extra votes, do you honestly believe that they would, out of the goodness of their hearts, provide easy access for voters?

    • Gerard says:

      04:04pm | 01/10/12

      And how is that different from the current system? They could save money now by having fewer polling stations. In fact, restricting people’s ability to vote when voting is compulsory would significantly increase revenue from fines- so restricting access is actually more attractive to governments when voting is compulsory.

    • Rose says:

      04:41pm | 01/10/12

      Whether they are informed or not is irrelevant, they are just as deserving of the right and responsibility to vote as any one else. I think you’ll find that some of the most disadvantaged people in this country know a great deal better than most how they will be affected by differing parties’ social policies and are therefore more ‘informed’ than you think!

    • Rose says:

      04:44pm | 01/10/12

      They cannot do it because they are legally obliged to give access to voting to everyone. I have no doubt that if there was a way to get out of it that they would’ve done it already!

    • PsychoHyena says:

      05:03pm | 01/10/12

      @Gerard, restricting access to polling stations to increase revenue from fines would not work because anyone who is fined would be able to claim that they were unable to vote due to insufficient access.

      It would be akin to being fired from your workplace for not doing your job, when you were given insufficient resources to do your job.

    • Gerard says:

      06:05pm | 01/10/12

      @PsychoHyena

      “would be able to claim” =/= “would claim”.

      Thousands of people would just pay the fine.


      @Rose

      “They cannot do it because they are legally obliged to give access to voting to everyone.”

      That’s my point. They are obliged to give everyone access to the electoral system- irrespective of whether voting is compulsory or optional.

    • Rose says:

      06:23pm | 01/10/12

      My point is that the legal obligation becomes watered down when voting becomes voluntary. You then will see arguments such as: there was a polling booth available in major town centres, ignoring the fact that people who live in small towns may be disadvantaged, or that because there is a polling booth two blocks away that nursing home residents no longer need the forms delivered to them, etc etc etc.
      I do not trust politicians to ensure that they maintain resources so that every Australian has access to the polls, not when they can get out of it. I honestly believe that the only reason that they do provide access is to all is because compulsory voting compels them to!

    • marley says:

      07:39pm | 01/10/12

      Oh geez Rose - having lived most of my life in Canada, which has as many issues with remote areas as Australia does (Canada being a fair bit bigger), I don’t recall there ever being an issue with people in Nunavut or the Yukon or Labrador not being able to get to a polling station.  You don’t have to have compulsory voting to have an equitable and accessible electoral system.

    • Nathan Explosion says:

      08:30am | 01/10/12

      Ugh, Romney. Such a repellent excuse for a human being.

    • Terry says:

      09:01am | 01/10/12

      @Nathan - no doubt you have met him and know him well enough to make such a stupid comment. Otherwise, just say that you don’t like his positions and that you’d rather see Obama continue another 4 years of tax and spend.

    • Matchofbris says:

      09:31am | 01/10/12

      He’s quite possibly more incompetent and bungling that GWB Jnr was. It’s like McCain and Palin congealed into one, old, white, racist glob of derp.

    • Bear says:

      11:38am | 01/10/12

      @Terry. Americans pay no tax as it is. If anything they need a tax hike, they could dress it up and call it something else, “tax reform” is a good one. It won’t happen though, tax is communism.

    • Black Rod says:

      09:26am | 01/10/12

      Bottom line, while involvement in the political process should be encouraged, in a true democracy you should be perfectly free to not give a toss, not bother registering to vote or to vote at all. Australians’ continual defence of compulsory voting stems from the smugness that anything Australia does is good and right and everyone else has got it wrong.

    • LC says:

      10:19am | 01/10/12

      Compulsory voting is one of the few areas in the Aussie Democratic system where got it right. Without it, it allows the outcome of elections to be far more easily manipulated by organised minorities. Why do you think in the US the governments tend to cater to the religious right so much in America? Because most people who vote ARE members of the religious right! Do you want that situation to become more prevent here, giving the ACL and like organizations more of a position to affect government policy? You must be mental.

      Besides which if you do not vote it’s implicit that you don’t like democracy, and don’t want to participate in it. In which case, your place in the country is better occupied by someone who gives a damn (and for every person like you who have such a dislike for democracy, there’s over 100 people the world over who are more than happy to take your place). Sure democratic systems of governance aren’t prefect, but it beats the shit out of every other system we’ve tried.

      As far as I’m concerned at the moment, someone who does not vote waives their right to bitch about those end up in power and what they end up doing.

    • marley says:

      10:20am | 01/10/12

      @LC - let’s see now. According to you, countries that don’t have compulsory voting are more liable to be manipulated by organised minorities, and have a citizenry that doesn’t give a damn about democracy.

      I wonder how the British, the Canadians, the French, the Dutch, the Swedes, the Germans, the Norwegians, etc etc feel about your argument.  Australia is one of a comparatively few countries that have compulsory voting, and I don’t see that the quality of democracy here is any better than in those countries that don’t have it.  Indeed, I’d argue that, right now, the quality of politics here is quite deplorable.

    • DocBud says:

      11:08am | 01/10/12

      Compulsory voting encourages pork barrelling because those who otherwise would not vote are happy to vote for the candidate offering them the best outcome personally. You are better off living in a marginal rather than a safe seat. You don’t tend to see something similar in the UK where parties issue manifestoes at the outset of the campaign and try and sell their contents thereafter, they don’t wander around the country making new spending commitments (bribes) in the seat they are visiting as they do in Australia.

    • Gerard says:

      12:37pm | 01/10/12

      @LC

      Compulsory voting is one of the very few areas where the Australian system gets it wrong (nomination deposits and the handling of casual vacancies being the other glaring exceptions). Like free speech, the right to vote is diminished by making it compulsory. Burying the votes of those who care about the country’s future under a huge pile of votes by those who don’t know or care what they’re voting for is not a good way of choosing a government.

    • Don says:

      02:29pm | 01/10/12

      Bugger of a thing this internet eh LC when the facts don’t suit your argument.

    • AdamC says:

      09:40am | 01/10/12

      I concur with a previous commenter on the non-sequitur point.

      More generally, I am in two minds about these laws. On the one hand, I accept that voter fraud is, at most, a small and sporadic problem. However, that is not in itself a reason to be lax about it. Like corruption, these things have a habit of getting out of hand once people think they can get away with being dodgy. In principle, I also have no objection to the notion that people should provide ID when they vote. It just tightens up the process. 

      (We should also keep in my that, at least the last time I was in America, you needed to show photo ID to do other things, like catch a plane - even domestically.)

      I also find the arguments against the laws less than compelling. In the USA, as in most other democracies, voting is a right, not an obligation as it is in Australia. People can choose to vote or not to vote. One cannot reasonably argue that voting is really important then make excuses for people who will not endure the one-off inconvenience of obtaining photo ID to enable them to do so.

    • Rose says:

      01:46pm | 01/10/12

      Voting is not a right for some one who cannot afford to exercise that right. People in America who cannot afford the time or money to organize the photo ID are thereby refused the right to vote. Remembering America does not have the benefit of an adequate social security or even a minimum wage. The powers that be in America are deliberately and maliciously restricting that so-called right so that only those who they desire get to exercise it!

    • AdamC says:

      02:27pm | 01/10/12

      Firstly, they do have a federal minimum wage in America. Some states and cities have local ones as well. They also have a social security system. It is more limited than ours, but not as limited as most Australians seem to think it is. Though it depends on which state you live in.

      Secondly, this argument about restricting the franchise just does not stack up. It is simply not true that it is difficult or expensive to get a photo ID in the states in question. In fact, it seems about as difficult as conveying onesself to a voting booth and voting.

      Opponents of these laws are making the wrong argument against them. Rather than putting this phoney case that lots of people will be prevented from voting by what amounts to their own laziness, anti-ID law advocates should contend that these laws create an ID card regime by stealth. That is quite a good argument.

    • Rose says:

      04:46pm | 01/10/12

      “This is a list of the minimum wages (per hour) in each state and territory of the United States, for jobs covered by federal minimum wage laws. If the job is not subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, then state, city, or other local laws may determine the minimum wage.[1] A common exemption to the federal minimum wage is a company having revenue of less than $500,000 per year while not engaging in any interstate commerce.
      Under the federal law, workers that receive a portion of their salary from tips, such as wait staff, are required only to have their total compensation, including tips, meet the minimum wage. Thus, often, their hourly wage, before tips, is less than the minimum wage.[2] Seven states, and Guam, do not allow for a tip credit.[3] Additional exemptions to the minimum wage include many seasonal employees, student employees, and certain disabled employees as specified by the FLSA.[4]
      In addition, some counties and/or cities within states may observe a higher minimum wage than the rest of the state in which they are located; sometimes this higher wage will apply only to businesses that are under contract to the local government itself, while in other cases the higher minimum will be enforced across the board.”
      So, while there is a minimum wage, there are plenty of exceptions, kind of makes it almost an optional, if you’re lucky, minimum wage doesn’t it?

    • AdamC says:

      05:12pm | 01/10/12

      Not really, Rose. It just means it’s complicated.

      Most regulation tends towards complexity, with different jurisdictions applying different rules and with carve-outs for different groups and situations. However, from your quotations, it would seem just about everyone would be covered by some rules, unless you are employed by a business with less than $500k in revenue. (No doubt that carve-out is intended to exempt family-run operations from minimum wage regulation.)

      As usual, people’s preconceived notions can withstand quite a bit of contradiction from reality. Incidentally, in Australia we also have hundreds of different minimum wages, due to there being about 160 ‘Awards’, with numerous classifiactions within each one. Do we also not have a ‘minimum wage’?

    • Rose says:

      05:55pm | 01/10/12

      “The national minimum wage acts as a safety net for employees in the national workplace relations system to provide minimum rates of pay for employees not covered by awards or agreements. National minimum wage orders are made by the Minimum Wage Panel of Fair Work Australia.

      Australia’s minimum wage is $15.96 per hour or $606.40 per week. Generally, employees in the national system shouldn’t get less than this.

      An employee’s basic rate of pay depends on such things as their age, job classification and what industrial instrument they’re covered by (e.g. a modern award, pre-modern award, transitional Pay Scale, workplace agreement and so on).

      The minimum wages received by employees in the national workplace relations system are reviewed by Fair Work Australia annually, with any adjustments taking effect from the first pay period on or after 1 July each year.”

      Look at that, a specific minimum wage for Australian adults, not dependent on the state you live in or the size and turnover of the company they work for. An adult can get paid more, but not less as a full-time wage, only juniors receive less.

    • Rose says:

      06:03pm | 01/10/12

      Oops, forgot this bit:
      “The review considers the rates of pay in:
      modern awards - from 1 January 2010 these specify the minimum wage rates for employees covered by a relevant modern award (subject to any transitional provisions)
      The national minimum wage - this applies to award and agreement-free employees.
      Employers and employees cannot agree to a rate of pay which is less than the applicable minimum wage. An employee may also be entitled to other allowances or loadings, depending on the job they do (e.g. a casual employee may be entitled to a casual loading).”

    • marley says:

      07:29pm | 01/10/12

      @Rose - I have no idea what your point is. 

      The US has minimum wage laws.  They are set state by state, so they’re higher in the prosperous western states than in the struggling eastern states, and that’s a reflection of the value of the labour and the state of the local economies.  So what?

      Paying a Tasmanian the same as a Sydneysider to wait on tables/work in aged care homes/build houses/service your car has never made any sense to me.  The worth of your work is what the local economy allows you to charge, and you ought to get more in WA than in Tasmania.  And anyway, paying anybody $15 an hour to wait on tables, especially when service levels are pretty poor here, doesn’t make sense to me either.

    • FredD says:

      09:36am | 01/10/12

      “A recent poll by the Wall Street Journal showed Mitt Romney’s support among African Americans was exactly 0%.

      I wonder why. “

      Because most African Americans are racist and will blindly support the black candidate over the white one, regardless of what policies either has to offer.

    • Al B says:

      12:25pm | 01/10/12

      With Obama there is a sense of blind pride which i guess u need to grant them first time around…but now it covers the fact the Dems are driving their country further into a ditch than ever. They got fleeced by the easy credit housing bubble, now inflation and the Fed will mop up the rest of the emerging black middle class wealth.

    • Peter says:

      02:33pm | 01/10/12

      Exactly.

      It’s funny how a 45% to 55% anti-Obama vote from white Americans is always attributed to racism amongst white Americans, but a 0% to 100% anti-Romney vote from black Americans is always attributed to racism from Romney.

      You gotta love the media spin.

    • James says:

      10:04am | 01/10/12

      I don’t see the problem. Isn’t this the same in Australia? I know every time I’ve voted (here in Australia) I’ve needed to bring photo ID. What’s the difference?

    • marley says:

      10:35am | 01/10/12

      I’ve been a citizen long enough to have voted in one federal and one state election, and two local ones.  I didn’t have to produced ID for any of them.

    • OzTrucker says:

      11:34am | 01/10/12

      But you Marley DID have to get your name checked off the roll and when they are toted up after the election if you have voted twice then there would be a problem. So you DO have to be enrolled and your ARE identified.

    • marley says:

      11:44am | 01/10/12

      @OzTrucker - so far as I know, you have to be registered to vote in the US.  The difference is, there some of the states require you to also show photo ID when you vote, whereas here, they’d don’t.

    • AdamC says:

      11:45am | 01/10/12

      In Australia, you have to enrol to vote. That is, you have to call up or fill in a form (or both, I forget the specifics) and put yourself on the electoral roll. You also have to re-enrol when you move house.

      It would seem the process in America is broadly similar to that in Australia. (http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Voting.shtml) So, if you have to go to the extraordinary effort of completing a form or visiting a government office to register to vote anyway, why is it so unreasonable to expect prospective voters to do the same thing to get a photo ID, if they don’t have one already?

    • KH says:

      12:52pm | 01/10/12

      You can enrol online here - they can verify your identity other ways.  I have never once had to provide any ID in a voting centre - you just get yourself marked off on the electoral roll.

    • KH says:

      01:05pm | 01/10/12

      @AdamC - $$$$  You can’t just get a drivers license - you have to learn to drive and earn it - a lot of people can’t afford that, or couldn’t afford a car - especially in the larger cities where there is a lot of transport.  A passport?  Why if you aren’t leaving the country?  Surprisingly few americans leave the US…...it costs more than $200 here to get a passport - I’m sure the cost is comparable over there.  What other photo IDs are there that require proper ID to get?  I don’t think a student card or the like would be acceptable.
      A lot of people think the US is full of people who live in sexy loft apartments in really cool cities (thanks to TV and movies) but I think that is a long way from the truth.  Unnecessary expenses like drivers licenses and passports you don’t need are unlikely to be on top of the weekly shopping budget if you are on average or are close to minimum wage.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      01:30pm | 01/10/12

      Okay I’ve just had a look and it’s possible to get a State-issued ID card that’s equivalent to a drivers license, just without the ability to drive. You require the same ID as with applying for a drivers license (Birth Certificate, proof of residence, etc).

      The costs vary between states, however on average you’re looking at approx $10 for low-income and $26 for everyone else under 65 and in most cases people over 65 get it for free. The cards typically expire after 4 or 8 years at which point they can be renewed. Definitely less messing about than here in Aus where you pay around $50 to get a proof-of-age card and you have to provide the photo, etc.

    • AdamC says:

      02:04pm | 01/10/12

      KH, I think PsychoHyena’s comment would serve as a pretty good response to yours. In the relevant states, it is quite possible for people to get a state-issued ID card without needing a drivers licence or passport. This whole confected controversy is just storm-and-teacup partisan nonsense.

      I cannot see why the Dems are even so fussed about it.  As I stated in another comment, people who refuse to make the one-off effort to get an ID card are unlikely to bother to vote anyway. People who think this would have a material impact on voting levels are kidding themselves.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      02:27pm | 01/10/12

      @AdamC I’m sure there are some reasons why they don’t get the ID and to be honest I wouldn’t want to guess on those reasons as I would just be applying my view on it rather than a view based on living in the same environment as they are.

    • Mark says:

      10:19am | 01/10/12

      This is a naive analysis. Who says having compulsory voting results in a better Government? I would argue that forcing everyone to vote lowers the standard of intelligence in political commentary and thus, lowers the standard of Governance. If you are made to appeal to the masses then you are surely going to be missing the subtleties of your craft.
      This could not be more evident then from the most recent federal elections that left us with our current Government. There wouldn’t be an ALP if people could choose to vote, because the idiots that do actually vote for them wouldn’t choose to do it. It’s a sad, sad irony.
      I’m not saying that voting should be limited to a certain few, but it should be optional so we don’t get voters who know absolutely nothing choosing the fate of our nation.
      It is an absolute shame that our system of Democracy has led to the assumption that my ignorance is just as valid as your knowledge.

    • andrew says:

      11:21am | 01/10/12

      I agree mark. As it stands at the moment the only thing motivating me to vote is the proven threat of a $70 fine (i’ve received a couple). I’m convinced that my standard of living isn’t going to change significantly under either of the major political parties and current leaders, so i’ll probably just throw my vote in for the stable population party knowing that it won’t achieve much anyway.

    • Gerard says:

      12:11pm | 01/10/12

      “There wouldn’t be an ALP if people could choose to vote, because the idiots that do actually vote for them wouldn’t choose to do it.”

      Are you serious? Millions of idiots around the country would still turn up to vote ALP if their union told them to.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      01:18pm | 01/10/12

      Could not agree more @Mark!

    • fml says:

      02:41pm | 01/10/12

      With the two party preferred system, your throw away vote for the stable population party probably goes to one of the main two parties anyway.

      So they still win! you are not throwing away your vote!

    • marley says:

      07:23pm | 01/10/12

      @fml - so, are you saying that if I vote for the Sex Party (who could be against sex?) and my vote ends up with the ALP or the Coalition, I haven’t wasted my vote? Umm, yes, I have.  I’d rather vote practically anything than either of the main parties, and that’s one of the reasons I don’t like the preference system.  I actually filled out my vote for the Senate -88 numbers, first to last.  How informed do you think I was about any but the first four or five and the bottom four or five?  I think the system is made for the establishment.  I don’t like it.

    • Dry Liberal says:

      10:37am | 01/10/12

      This article is just partisan Republican-bashing. Of course the author didn’t like any of the candidates… Of course he didn’t think any of the candidates were “qualified” to be President… That is a typical left wing attitude.

      Because there are two ways of organizing society – as noted by Victorian Lawyer Sir Henry Maine A) Status (Compulsory cooperation) and B) Contract (Voluntary cooperation) and the modern progressive movement is a giant step backwards towards compulsory cooperation and away from voluntary cooperation. How a group of people determine achievement says nearly everything about how their lives are going to be lived – this is why Kay Hymowitz noted that these degrees “take years” in “preadulthood”, but mistakenly blamed the “knowledge economy” instead of noting the shift away from material resourcefulness and towards credentialing as the source of social standing.

      In any case, the reason why Romney’s campaign is failing is because he was the Democrats’ choice. What I mean is, all the Democrats in the media (the majority of the media are leftist, studies have shown that 81% of journalists vote Democrat) asked themselves “which candidate would I vote for?”. Obviously they are going to vote for Obama, but hypothetically they thought, “Romney’s the only candidate I could stomach, therefore all the other candidates are rubbish”.

      But the problem was and is that Republicans themselves aren’t enthused by Romney. He has no charisma, he was only selected in the Primaries because the media pushed his candidacy so hard and slimed all his competitors. But the PEOPLE, who did they feel passionately for? Ron Paul.

      You tried to write him off as a cranky Doctor who wasn’t “Qualified” to be President, but actually he was a 12 term Congressman… How could you get more qualified than that? Certainly Obama only had one term in the Senate… objectively Obama is less qualified than Ron Paul.

      But that doesn’t matter. What matters is the passion and feeling and electricity Ron Paul inspired in the people. People felt his message was powerful and important, but of course it was controversial so the media either ridiculed him for it or ignored him.

      But ah well, so it looks like you’re stuck with a pretty average President for the next 4 years either way. Obama is fine, he’s cool, no doubt about it. But his economic policies suck, and he refuses to realise that the only way American prosperity can be restored is to go back to the policies of the era in which American prosperity was created!

      That means Small government (i.e. giving tens of thousands of Public servants the sack), that means low taxes (i.e. reducing income taxes and simplifying the tax code) and the rule of law (i.e. that means property rights, because ownership is nine-tenths of the law).

      There you have it: Small government, low taxes and the rule of law: what American prosperity was built on. Too bad the left will never accept the need to restore these necessary prerequisites.

    • Al B says:

      12:35pm | 01/10/12

      I think Romney is the candidate the Dems wanted as he is clearly unelectable off his own bat. The guy is exactly the empty vessel, rich guy caricature they were praying for.

      Agree on Ron Paul ...if Romney were to make him prospective Treasury secretary with carte blanche to return the role of govt to what it was…that could engage a base of enthusiasm.

      Ideal scenario would be Romney debating Barry with RP whispering in his earpiece….the good Doctor would wipe the floor with cool guy Obama on economics. Whether it would be enough to move the key swing states…doubtful…public sector unions there are so strong now. The inevitable cuts required would not be so palatable given how bloated govt there is.

    • I hate pies...and Americancentric Australia says:

      10:38am | 01/10/12

      Who cares…write something about Australian politics.

    • Alfie says:

      10:52am | 01/10/12

      I see no point in forcing dumb people to vote. Lets face it, that is how we ended up with the Greens.

    • Wayne King says:

      12:04pm | 01/10/12

      Damn right. Elections should be rigged like in America where you vote on a Tuesday afternoon and of course the peasants cant get off work to go and vote but the bosses can. God bless America and feudalism.

    • marley says:

      02:16pm | 01/10/12

      @Wayne King - first, quite a few states have laws making it compulsory for employers to give time off to vote.  Second, about a third of voters will vote ahead of time, in the weeks before the actual polling day.  Third, the polls are open before and after normal working hours.

    • Swinging Voter says:

      10:53am | 01/10/12

      Ok so don’t vote if you don’t want to, but if so don’t complain about the government if you don’t vote. Cause you didn’t vote against them !!

    • OzTrucker says:

      11:33am | 01/10/12

      Compulsory voting gave us the rubbish we now endure.

      I don’t care what side of the fence anyone sits on the simple fact is if voting is not compulsory then voters have to make some kind of effort and show interest by going to vote in the first place.

      I would suggest that therefore the voter has likely thought about the issues and has made up their mind what they want from their government.

      Regardless which brand you favour is it not more likely that this voting in a non compulsory system would result in voters who are better informed about the issues and what their respective party stands for?

    • Cynicised says:

      12:08pm | 01/10/12

      Compulsory voting (or compulsorily turning up. One can always write Get Stuffed! on the ballot paper) is the best thing about the Australian system. Geez, what a hardship that as a citizen we are encouraged by law to exercise our democratic franchise once every three years or so. It is absolutely true that voter apathy plays a huge part in the  outcome in countries with a voluntary system. Thanks, but I’d rather not have my government elected by 15% of the  eligible population, as regularly occurs in American Presidential elections.

      As for voter photo ID laws, I understand how they can be seen as yet another impediment to minorities voting in the States. Way to make it tougher for the average low wage earner to get to a polling booth.  Yet another reason why I’m bloody glad I don’t live there.

    • marley says:

      01:47pm | 01/10/12

      @Cynicised:  ” I’d rather not have my government elected by 15% of the eligible population, as regularly occurs in American Presidential elections.”

      Oh really?  The voter turnout in a US Presidential election has never been as low as 15%, never mind on a regular basis.  The turnout has only dropped below 50% on three occasions - 1920, 1924 and 1996 - and on all three occasions it was just a smidgeon under. 

      If you’re going to make up statistics, at least make up reasonable ones.

    • Cynicised says:

      02:39pm | 01/10/12

      Well Marley, if you’re going to criticise statistics, perhaps you should read what I wrote more carefully. I said ELECTED by 15% of the eligible population.  Let’s take the 1996 election for example. A three way race between Clinton, Dole and Perot. Turnout = 51.7% . Clinton wins with 49.2% of the vote.  In actuality, this means Clinton was elected by almost half of almost 52%, equalling 25.85% roughly. Not 15%, admittedly my memory was faulty there, but the President, highest office in the land, was elected by just over a quarter of the eligible population.  And I’m fairly sure 49.2 was a decent popular vote. When the turnout is lower and the vote is closer, the electing population may be even smaller. Please don’t tell me that that’s the kind of numbers we need here to assure that the majority of people are heard.

    • marley says:

      03:09pm | 01/10/12

      @cynicised - if the lowest turnout on record in a Presidential election is 49%, which it is (1996 was in fact a very low turnout year), then I stand by the argument that no president has ever been elected by 15% of the eligible voters.

      I would also point out that most Americans who don’t vote don’t do so because they don’t want to, not because they can’t.  Not voting is as much a choice as voting.  And if someone chooses to opt out of the political system, surely they should have the right to do so?  Let those who care, vote, rather than those who need a voting card to tell them what to do.

    • Gerard says:

      12:33pm | 01/10/12

      So there’s no better case for compulsory voting than that there should be nothing stopping someone turning up at multiple polling stations, giving any old name and voting half a dozen times without ever having their ID checked?

      Compulsory voting advocates are really scraping the bottom of the barrel now.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      12:39pm | 01/10/12

      @Gerard, where the hell did you pull that from? This isn’t about compulsory or voluntary voting it is about whether voting should be open to people unable to provide photo ID. Seriously, to avoid the deceased from voting they should be making sure the electoral roll is up-to-date as this is where the biggest issue is.

    • warren says:

      01:04pm | 01/10/12

      @PsychoHyena

      “This isn’t about compulsory or voluntary voting it is about whether voting should be open to people unable to provide photo ID. “

      You’re either being naive, or disingenuous.

      Of course this is about compulsory voting.  It’s always about compulsory voting when it comes to electoral reform.

      If someone can’t provide photo ID, you need to wonder about their ability to cast an informed decision at the ballot box.

      Think about it.  Someone can’t provide photo ID—they can’t prove who they are—after at least 18 years of being alive, but they’re entrusted with the power to vote?

      If you can’t show me Photo ID, and you want a say in the running of my life, then guess what?  YOU need to show Photo ID.

      But this isn’t about Photo ID.  It’s about the Left trying to increase voter turnout through legislation, in order to help stack their vote.

    • egg says:

      01:27pm | 01/10/12

      @warren, I don’t know what article you’re reading but this is certainly NOT about compulsory voting. It’s kind of ridiculous for you to suggest so.

      “If someone can’t provide photo ID, you need to wonder about their ability to cast an informed decision at the ballot box.”

      I don’t drive and I haven’t left the country since I was 11. What exactly are you wondering about my ability to vote?

    • marley says:

      01:36pm | 01/10/12

      For those of you who think this isn’t about compulsory voting, perhaps you might like to re-read the opening sentence of the article:

      “There’s no better case for Australia’s compulsory voting system than the current wave of voter suppression laws sweeping the United States.”

      Now admittedly, having made that bald statement, the author made no attempt to link the two issues, but his lack of ability to make an argument doesn’t mean that’s not what he meant to prove.

    • Gerard says:

      01:58pm | 01/10/12

      @PsychoHyena

      Having re-read the article, I can see how you might think that compulsory voting is irrelevant here. Maybe you’re right. Unfortunately, the fact that it was brought up in the very first sentence makes it appear that the connection between compulsory voting and showing ID was the entire premise of the article.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      02:17pm | 01/10/12

      @warren, I’m sorry I only started using photo ID at 25 because I didn’t need one and getting ID that I needed to replace regularly but only needed in very rare circumstances. I can prove my existence to governing bodies via the use of my birth certificate, bills, bank card, etc so I didn’t need photo ID there.

      YOU are being extremely naive warren if you think that someone who doesn’t have photo ID when they’re 18 means they are incapable of voting. If you don’t need it, why pay for it, it’s just a waste of money. Though I don’t need to tell you that, being a supporter of the right-wing you can identify a waste of money from a mile away correct?

    • warren says:

      12:57pm | 01/10/12

      Let’s get real. And honest.

      The real reason left-of-centre types favour compulsory voting is that it improves their chances at the ballot box.

      By and large, conservative voters tend to be better organised in their affairs, particularly when it comes to showing up at the ballot box, and most particularly when it comes to enrolment and postal votes. (Any vote counter can tell you that postal votes generally favour the conservative vote.)

      In countries without compulsory voting, political parties spend a LOT of time and money getting their constituencies out to vote.  The leftist parties in particular, have a much harder time of it.  Even with Rock-the-Vote style campaigns, they have an uphill battle getting disaffected, disinterested or outright lazy people to vote.

      Here in Australia, our major political parties have effectively shoved that time and effort and money on to the AEC.  i.e. back on to the taxpayers.  And political parties are PAID for the turnout/representation they get.

      Labor (and Labour) will always try to force compulsory voting. Without it, their turnout would be even lower than it is.

      This is not about liberty or representation or the democratic process or looking after the disenfranchised. It’s about stacking the vote.

    • warren says:

      12:49pm | 01/10/12

      “A recent poll by the Wall Street Journal showed Mitt Romney’s support among African Americans was exactly 0%. I wonder why.”

      Because he’s not prepared to throw taxpayer’s money at them, in the way of social security and job programs and affirmative action, in order to buy their vote?

    • Gordon F says:

      01:37pm | 01/10/12

      Americas votes this year will be counted in Spain also. Slightly off topic but still, how will that be regulated?

    • TheRealDave says:

      02:08pm | 01/10/12

      Screw one person one vote! I work for a living and I’m bloody smart! My vote should be worth more than some unemployed druggy’s from Mount Druitt! Compulsory voting blows! How dare other peoples opinions be worth more than mine!

    • fml says:

      03:30pm | 01/10/12

      You shouldn’t be allowed to have multiple votes unless you have multiple personality disorder.

    • Rose says:

      04:00pm | 01/10/12

      No one’s vote is more important than yours, it;s just that yours is no more important than any one else’s. Which, judging by the tone of your post, is a very, very good thing!

    • stephen says:

      04:16pm | 01/10/12

      Unreal, Dave.

    • Peter says:

      02:24pm | 01/10/12

      Fraudulent voting occurs here and in the USA.

      http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sa-electoral-commission-wants-to-investigate-claims-that-one-family-voted-159-times/story-e6frea8c-1225846209228

      In the US, particularly in Chicago, dead people regularly vote, and the vote in some districts exceeds 100%.

      As for voter suppression, the biggest single factor is always having to vote on a Tuesday, which discrimates against people who work (ie Republicans) and boosts the vote from non-workers (Democrats).

      The Democrats are also known for making military deployments just before elections, to minimise the pro-Republican vote from military people.

      The states that have voter ID laws have gone to great lengths to ensure that ID cards are readily available free of charge. If they don’t, then they will face the inevitable lawsuit from the usual suspects.

    • Brian says:

      03:27pm | 01/10/12

      The only reason the Left aren’t elected anywhere in the world is due to fraudulent practices not because they are out of touch, incompetent and disliked by the majority of people. That can’t be true. They are so wonderful that in any fair system they would always be elected. Bwahaha!

    • Super D says:

      03:56pm | 01/10/12

      “:A recent poll by the Wall Street Journal showed Mitt Romney’s support among African Americans was exactly 0%.

      I wonder why.”

      It’s because black americans are racists who can’t look past skin colour.

    • John says:

      04:39pm | 01/10/12

      Lets not give this election an legitimacy they’re just puppets and actors singing to the tune of their masters, the pirates and vultures that hijacked the United States of America for their own gain. I can’t stand the US anymore, I despise it’s movie industry, I despise it’s music industry, I despise it’s television. It’s just nothing but propaganda to divide the mass’s, distract the mass’s, brainwash the mass’s and keep them in fictional, fantasy land. It’s military forces are nothing but crimnals and it’s financial system is infected with thieves. The US is going to collapse. There is nothing left of Uncle Sam, the poor guy has been eaten up and his soul devoured and taken to the depths of hell.

    • Brian Taylor says:

      04:32pm | 01/10/12

      voter suppression laws sweeping the United States….....loet me make a wild guess here Ben, you’re a obama suporter right?
      wouldn’t the truth sound better?.... ILLEGAL voter suppression laws sweeping the United States

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      05:45pm | 01/10/12

      Yep! You sure got that right, Brian Taylor!  He’s an Australian, He works for some Democrat organistaion & in his spare time he is working on the Obama/Biden re-election Campaign. he can hardly be regarded as having an unbiased, fair view of anything to do with US politics. Guess he must be on loan from the Australian Labor Party & on his retunr they will reward him with a nice safe Labor seat - though if the polls are any indication he may have to wait until 2022 when everything here has cooled down , the ALP regains the trust of the voters & seats return to their normal ALP-Coalition divide.

    • Augustus Caesar says:

      05:24pm | 01/10/12

      Just goes to prove that in the USA they don’t understand the meaning of Equality. Freedom. Democracy and that their politicians are the least democratice, freedom-loving, equality embracing of all.
      Our system may not be perfect but at least, though we are required by law to front up & have our names crossed off the Electoral Roll, we can vote however we want & that includes a deliberately Informal vote if we wish.
      Given the dishonesty, the lies, humbug, spin & distortions of all our politicians we should givet a massive Informal vote in 2013 for none of them are worthy of getting our trust.
      .

    • the cynic says:

      06:28pm | 01/10/12

      That’s right Augustus,  vote informal we’ll show ‘em, and we end up with the same bunch of cowboys running the show. That’s real smart. Quick cut the rope while your hanging suspended in mid air off the side of Mount Everest to stop anyone else getting onboard. Yep real smart idea!  The pilots in the domestic airlines tried that in 1989 and look what happened to them.

 

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