Making citizens vote is not good for democracy. This fine analysis in The Economist points to some of the reasons; it “protects inept politicians and rewards inflammatory ones,” for instance. But the article misses a big drawback.  Compulsory voting makes the political process centrifugal (polarizing), for fringe candidates begin to get electoral support. This was pointed out by Fred Riggs, a political scientist, in his 1994 paper Problems of Presidentialism.

In the context of India, it is interesting to note that the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution had, at first, proposed making voting compulsory. But the recommendation was later dropped before the final report. This came to light in a member’s note of dissent.

Here’s The Economist article…

Link to The Economist

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