04 June 2009

Incentive Voting.

Chris Dillow at Stumbling and Mumbling points out that his personal incentive to vote is less than the costs and disincentives of voting. I propose 3 things to overcome this. 1. A extra days holiday or an extra days benefit if you vote. 2. 'non-of-the-above' on the ballot paper. 3. Non-voters represented by members drawn by lot.


  1. 1. How typical of you lefties. You just love spending other people's money, don't you?

    2. It will turn elections into a farce. But I tend to agree.

    3. No. The right not to vote is as imprortant as the right to vote.

  2. GS, 1. If you don't like that, how about a 'tax free day' if you vote. 3. People who don't vote are not saying they don't want to be represented, just that they don't like any of the candidates on offer. Representing these non-voters by people drawn at random will at least make professional politicians work hard to up turnout. Rather than claiming a mandate with less than 20% support, as they do at present.

  3. Neil,

    Ermm taxes are other people's money. Anyway, I don't think we should be bribing people to vote,it will lead to mperverse outcome. If someobody doesn't want to vote that is their right.

    If people don't vote then they have made a conscious decision to give up that right (stupid as I think they are), in which case we should always judge a party's results against turnout. |If poepole don't like it, get out and vote.

  4. GS; It is not about bribing people to vote, voting has a cost in both time and money. It is more like an expense payment.

    The benefits to the individual of voting are infinitessimal, it is a wonder anybody bothers at all. People are not being 'stupid' by not voting - just working out it is not worth their time and effort to get out and vote. Even under a proportional system the chances that it will be your vote that makes the difference is remote.

    Yet the benefits to society of people voting are huge, so a payment would be a relatively small cost to society in return for huge benefits to our democracy.

    Yes, people should vote out of civic duty, but incentives will not make the result 'perverse'.

    This is the same argument that John Stuart Mill used to deprive the vote to the non-educated - that people are not clever enough to have an informed opinion. I have more faith in the public than that.

    Just ignoring non-voters has a far more perverse efffect on our democracy. It reduces politicians accountability.