is it really a good thing in a democracy to tell uninformed people to vote Watch

zippity.doodah
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I got reminded yet again, from the student room to advertisement, that this still happens; there are signs or notices saying things like "vote!"/ "your voice matters!" (etc). honestly- there is a big reason why a lot of non-voters don't vote - they're not informed enough to do it. why would you encourage uninformed people to vote? I could understand if the ignorance problem wasn't there (e.g. if we introduced some kind of basic politics education in GCSE or something) but it is there! and obviously if they *were* informed, they wouldn't *not* vote! even if they don't think their vote will matter - it's more about their share of influence at least being taken notice of in the end at a national level if not for the local level. so telling people to vote like this will surely bring forth bad results. in a democracy, surely an *informed* electorate is important, and not necessarily a full one? am I really unreasonable for suggesting that some people who really do not know about politics thoroughly ought not vote? even as a reasonable duty to those that *are* informed?

edit: I don't know why but my "?" question marks in my titles never get put through in the real title - I obviously intended to phrase my title as a question but I guess my account is broken or something, and I can;t edit the "?" mark in.
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Islamophile
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Yes. It does not matter whether they are informed or not, educated or not, poor, rich, deviant or conformist. It is of lesser importance to the basic principle "no taxation without representation".

If you have a PhD in political science, economics, law or STEM does not mean you can make better voting decisions that someone who has never been to school. On the contrary, I think there are no objectively "good" or "bad" electoral decisions because there is no universal social interest; each individual or a section of society has a different interest and often juxtaposed to that of another individual / section of society. The argument of educational requirements is therefore fraud.
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leinad2012
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I don't think you can force people not to vote, the only reason I have an interest/ understanding of politics is because my family (well mum), likes listening to PMQ's and talks about politics a lot.

Stopping people from voting based on knowledge could be seen as prejudice in a way, as there are definitely parts of society (often those from less privaleged backgrounds) whose family are so disenfranchised with modern politics that they simply don't care any more.

That being said I do think that more needs to be done in schools to educate people on basic politics, the issue would be keeping it unbiased so no particular parties views are pushed more than others.

On things like an EU referendum where it's pretty complicated, I do think that people should have to watch a video or pass a basic test on what the EU actually does and an overview of its' pros and cons (very basic to minimise the number of people not bothering to complete it) even if it does mean turnouts of <25%.
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Observatory
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Part of it is social signalling - encouraging others to vote shows much you value voting yourself.

Sometimes it's also calculated - younger, less informed, and less educated voters lean towards certain parties so it's in those parties' interest to encourage those people to vote.
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leinad2012
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(Original post by Islamophile)
Yes. It does not matter whether they are informed or not, educated or not, poor, rich, deviant or conformist. It is of lesser importance to the basic principle "no taxation without representation".

If you have a PhD in political science, economics, law or STEM does not mean you can make better voting decisions that someone who has never been to school. On the contrary, I think there are no objectively "good" or "bad" electoral decisions because there is no universal social interest; each individual or a section of society has a different interest and often juxtaposed to that of another individual / section of society. The argument of educational requirements is therefore fraud.
Not to be rude but that is terrible logic. Obviously someone who constantly watches politics and has read every parties manifesto in depth and looked at how each part will effect themselves and the country as a whole is going to make a better voting decision than someone who has never read or watched anything to do with politics in their life and doesn't know what each party plans to do. Stating anything else is just stupid tbf
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Islamophile
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(Original post by leinad2012)
Not to be rude but that is terrible logic. Obviously someone who constantly watches politics and has read every parties manifesto in depth and looked at how each part will effect themselves and the country as a whole is going to make a better voting decision than someone who has never read or watched anything to do with politics in their life and doesn't know what each party plans to do. Stating anything else is just stupid tbf
Not at all. I disagree with this argument. Just because you follow politics or familiarised yourself with the manifesto of the party does not meet your decisions are better than that of someone who has not.
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leinad2012
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(Original post by Islamophile)
Not at all. I disagree with this argument. Just because you follow politics or familiarised yourself with the manifesto of the party does not meet your decisions are better than that of someone who has not.
So, lets take the example of 2 people, one has studied all parties manifestos and their hypothetical impacts on the country as a whole and votes accordingly.

And then you have a second person who has lived inside a box for 18 years and know absolutely nothing about politics at all, and votes based on what party name they like best. Let's say that party is called something like, I don't know, "the Nazi party", and say part of their manifesto is to kill all minorities or particular ethnic group.

Are you seriously saying both of their votes are as well thought out and therefore as good as each other?
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German123
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I must say that i agree to an extent.
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zippity.doodah
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(Original post by Islamophile)
Not at all. I disagree with this argument. Just because you follow politics or familiarised yourself with the manifesto of the party does not meet your decisions are better than that of someone who has not.
depends on the hypothetical criteria of good
is it politically good or neutral in a democracy to vote for a party that puts forwards policies that don't/won't work? or cause damaging and unforeseen consequences? or to vote for parties that have consistently lied or misled/repudiated the views of the public?
or what about this - people who vote for the better looking candidate, or the party with the best looking leader? or the party with the prettiest party colour? literally, I have heard girls at my uni use these as bases for voting. thank god at least compulsory voting doesn't exist in the UK.

(Original post by leinad2012)
So, lets take the example of 2 people, one has studied all parties manifestos and their hypothetical impacts on the country as a whole and votes accordingly.

And then you have a second person who has lived inside a box for 18 years and know absolutely nothing about politics at all, and votes based on what party name they like best. Let's say that party is called something like, I don't know, "the Nazi party", and say part of their manifesto is to kill all minorities or particular ethnic group.

Are you seriously saying both of their votes are as well thought out and therefore as good as each other?
yeah exactly, this is what I'm talking about
why would one suppose our voting age is 18, for example? what springs to mind for most people is the same reason I am saying that not *everybody* should vote - some people are seriously not informed (not necessarily "intelligent") enough to do it responsibly or reasonably! a child, for example (or an uninformed adult) might use their ballot to vote for either a very emotional, short-sighted or excessively self-benevolent party and the result might be implemented stupidity or a disproportionate result (in our awful yet existent FPTP system)
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Islamophile
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(Original post by leinad2012)
So, lets take the example of 2 people, one has studied all parties manifestos and their hypothetical impacts on the country as a whole and votes accordingly.

And then you have a second person who has lived inside a box for 18 years and know absolutely nothing about politics at all, and votes based on what party name they like best. Let's say that party is called something like, I don't know, "the Nazi party", and say part of their manifesto is to kill all minorities or particular ethnic group.

Are you seriously saying both of their votes are as well thought out and therefore as good as each other?
To be honest I was expecting you to make a different argument. I was expecting you to argue something like this:

Let's take one person who knows math and one that does not - who do you think makes a better accountant? By the same logic, let's take a politics-oriented individual versus antipolitics individual - who do you think makes a better voter?

But you did not.

The reason why this is not the case is because while in math 2+2 = 4, in politics 2+2 could equal 3 as well as 5. There are no universal nor objective solutions; in fact there are juxtaposed and mutually exclusive solutions to the same problem.

For example, an underprivileged voter may be desperate to keep his social welfare benefit, therefore makes a decision to cast the vote for the party willing to increase taxes and/or expenditure and possibly run a deficit which would increase the debt. This decision is no less valid than that of a business voter casting vote for the party deciding to cut taxes and welfare at the price of the social cost which the former and not the latter voter would carry.

In terms of your example of the Nazi party - as you know, historically the fascists in the interwar Europe, whether in Italy, Germany, Hungary or Spain, had been supported inasmuch by the uneducated as by the bourgeoisie and even the remains of the feudal aristocracy.
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zippity.doodah
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(Original post by Islamophile)
To be honest I was expecting you to make a different argument. I was expecting you to argue something like this:

Let's take one person who knows math and one that does not - who do you think makes a better accountant? By the same logic, let's take a politics-oriented individual versus antipolitics individual - who do you think makes a better voter?

But you did not.

The reason why this is not the case is because while in math 2+2 = 4, in politics 2+2 could equal 3 as well as 5. There are no universal nor objective solutions; in fact there are juxtaposed and mutually exclusive solutions to the same problem.

For example, an underprivileged voter may be desperate to keep his social welfare benefit, therefore makes a decision to cast the vote for the party willing to increase taxes and/or expenditure and possibly run a deficit which would increase the debt. This decision is no less valid than that of a business voter casting vote for the party deciding to cut taxes and welfare at the price of the social cost which the former and not the latter voter would carry.

In terms of your example of the Nazi party - as you know, historically the fascists in the interwar Europe, whether in Italy, Germany, Hungary or Spain, had been supported inasmuch by the uneducated as by the bourgeoisie and even the remains of the feudal aristocracy.
I am not making an objective or absolutist results-based argument, though. politics isn't maths. however - I am supposing, objectively, that some people are more politically informed than others - that is pretty much indisputable. these people will be more thoughtful about their vote, as opposed to ignorant or naive. is it objectively better for an electorate to be naive? or objectively informed? I'm not saying an objective *result* (e.g. party seat victories) is the question here, I am talking about the *manner* of the electorate. *that* can be objective in theory, as opposed to results (because I acknowledge that there are intelligent people that have very different views)
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leinad2012
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(Original post by Islamophile)
To be honest I was expecting you to make a different argument. I was expecting you to argue something like this:

Let's take one person who knows math and one that does not - who do you think makes a better accountant? By the same logic, let's take a politics-oriented individual versus antipolitics individual - who do you think makes a better voter?

But you did not.

The reason why this is not the case is because while in math 2+2 = 4, in politics 2+2 could equal 3 as well as 5. There are no universal nor objective solutions; in fact there are juxtaposed and mutually exclusive solutions to the same problem.

For example, an underprivileged voter may be desperate to keep his social welfare benefit, therefore makes a decision to cast the vote for the party willing to increase taxes and/or expenditure and possibly run a deficit which would increase the debt. This decision is no less valid than that of a business voter casting vote for the party deciding to cut taxes and welfare at the price of the social cost which the former and not the latter voter would carry.

In terms of your example of the Nazi party - as you know, historically the fascists in the interwar Europe, whether in Italy, Germany, Hungary or Spain, had been supported inasmuch by the uneducated as by the bourgeoisie and even the remains of the feudal aristocracy.
Yes, but you're assuming that every policy helps some people and not others. That isn't the case. There are clear policies (or lack of policies) which will clearly, to the educated voter, leave the entire country worse off than others. Especially when it comes to something like leaving the EU, where the costs are clear to see, but the benefits are more subtle and not as easily observed.
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leinad2012
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(Original post by zippity.doodah)

yeah exactly, this is what I'm talking about
why would one suppose our voting age is 18, for example? what springs to mind for most people is the same reason I am saying that not *everybody* should vote - some people are seriously not informed (not necessarily "intelligent") enough to do it responsibly or reasonably! a child, for example (or an uninformed adult) might use their ballot to vote for either a very emotional, short-sighted or excessively self-benevolent party and the result might be implemented stupidity or a disproportionate result (in our awful yet existent FPTP system)
To be honest, there's still huge flaws in our entire system. For example, the fact that we only vote for one local representative and it's whoever gets the most votes in that constituency wins (even if it isn't a majority). It causes people to vote tactically based on how they perceive others to be voting (i.e. "vote SNP get Tories" mindset). Or in my case, making my vote insignificant and worthless, because I live in a conservative stronghold, my vote will literally make **** all difference.

The obvious answer is to merge local areas and allow multiple candidates from each party and ordering of preference (i.e. voting for more than one candidate in order of preference), like shown in this video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8XOZJkozfI

Obviously a fully educated (by which I mean politically informed) electorate would be beneficial, but the issue comes from the fact that most people don't really care that much. If your average person can't be ****ed to spend a couple hours watching a video and passing a test on basic politics, then all a test based voting system would lead to is those who care most passionately being able to vote (i.e. more likely those with extreme political views), potentially not representing the overall, if not vocal, view of the electorate.
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zippity.doodah
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(Original post by leinad2012)
To be honest, there's still huge flaws in our entire system. For example, the fact that we only vote for one local representative and it's whoever gets the most votes in that constituency wins (even if it isn't a majority). It causes people to vote tactically based on how they perceive others to be voting (i.e. "vote SNP get Tories" mindset). Or in my case, making my vote insignificant and worthless, because I live in a conservative stronghold, my vote will literally make **** all difference.

The obvious answer is to merge local areas and allow multiple candidates from each party and ordering of preference (i.e. voting for more than one candidate in order of preference), like shown in this video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8XOZJkozfI

Obviously a fully educated (by which I mean politically informed) electorate would be beneficial, but the issue comes from the fact that most people don't really care that much. If your average person can't be ****ed to spend a couple hours watching a video and passing a test on basic politics, then all a test based voting system would lead to is those who care most passionately being able to vote (i.e. more likely those with extreme political views), potentially not representing the overall, if not vocal, view of the electorate.
I'm actually completely in favour of proportional representation - I think our current system is pretty much the worst kind of electoral system you can possibly get. and, still, I think at the very least, *some* kind of politics education would make a big difference for elections - you wouldn't necessarily get different *results* but you would get smarter mentalities, in whatever vote-form they happened to take, which is still a good thing - if everybody has the correct facts in mind, then they can vote well if our criteria is "goodness", either for themselves, or better, the whole country
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InArduisFouette
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(Original post by Observatory)
<snip>

Sometimes it's also calculated - younger, less informed, and less educated voters lean towards certain parties so it's in those parties' interest to encourage those people to vote.
such as a major UK party promoting a website where you can see how your MP voted on a number of inaccurately described key issues ... except of of course if your MP is a member of afore(not)mentioned party when it points you the page showing how David Cameron voted ...

come on 'Wallace' surely you can do better than that ...
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democracyforum
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Precisely

I don't want people who know nothing about politics voting
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TurboCretin
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(Original post by Islamophile)
Yes. It does not matter whether they are informed or not, educated or not, poor, rich, deviant or conformist. It is of lesser importance to the basic principle "no taxation without representation".

If you have a PhD in political science, economics, law or STEM does not mean you can make better voting decisions that someone who has never been to school. On the contrary, I think there are no objectively "good" or "bad" electoral decisions because there is no universal social interest; each individual or a section of society has a different interest and often juxtaposed to that of another individual / section of society. The argument of educational requirements is therefore fraud.
Nobody is talking about formal educational requirements... Just people having some understanding of what they're voting on.

Also, it's not 'fraud'.
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Swanbow
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(Original post by zippity.doodah)
and obviously if they *were* informed, they wouldn't *not* vote! even if they don't think their vote will matter - it's more about their share of influence at least being taken notice of in the end at a national level if not for the local level.
Some of the most informed and knowledgeable people that I know on the subjects of politics, economics and foreign affairs don't vote. If you live in a safe seat, and you support a smaller party it is a waste of time going to the polling station. Furthermore they don't support any of the main parties strongly enough to be justified voting for them, and know that the smaller parties are lacking in substance.

Just because you are politically aware and engaged doesn't mean that you will vote, or agree with an entirely outdated and undemocratic electoral system.
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zippity.doodah
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(Original post by Swanbow)
Some of the most informed and knowledgeable people that I know on the subjects of politics, economics and foreign affairs don't vote. If you live in a safe seat, and you support a smaller party it is a waste of time going to the polling station. Furthermore they don't support any of the main parties strongly enough to be justified voting for them, and know that the smaller parties are lacking in substance.

Just because you are politically aware and engaged doesn't mean that you will vote, or agree with an entirely outdated and undemocratic electoral system.
1) I agree - our electoral system is atrocious and undemocratic
2) but I *did* say "at a national level" for a reason - even if your vote doesn't sway your local constituency's result (such as for safe seats), at least people will know about disproportionality; if, say, UKIP, or the greens, got 20% of the vote but got like 1% of the seats, a vote for them would boost the appeal of electoral reform.
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Swanbow
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(Original post by zippity.doodah)
1) I agree - our electoral system is atrocious and undemocratic
2) but I *did* say "at a national level" for a reason - even if your vote doesn't sway your local constituency's result (such as for safe seats), at least people will know about disproportionality; if, say, UKIP, or the greens, got 20% of the vote but got like 1% of the seats, a vote for them would boost the appeal of electoral reform.
The Lib Dems have been getting screwed for years with FPTP, and electoral reform still seems to be a very marginal issue that no one in establishment wants to acknowledge or tackle because the current system works to their benefit. When the electorate were presented with the only probable chance of electoral reform for a generation, albeit a shabby one, they overwhelmingly voted against it. I might also add that ironically FPTP will be the only thing stopping the Lib Dems from annihilation this election.

A huge swing to UKIP or the Greens might make more people aware of our terrible electoral system, but they simply won't have the presence in parliament to initiate any reform. Furthermore I don't predict because as the election comes closer tactical voting becomes more apparent in the polls. Reform has to come from within Labour and the Conservatives.
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