Australia Tells America: Here’s How to Fix Your Voting System
It's a cookout, it's compulsory and it occurs on a Saturday
The dirty work of democracy is often compared to the making of sausages, but Australians almost take that maxim literally — turning Election Day into a countrywide barbecue, in which the grilling of hot dogs is optional but voting is compulsory. More than 96 percent of eligible Australians are enrolled to vote. Of those, more than 90 percent typically turn out to cast ballots for a federal election, far more than the 55 percent of eligible Americans who participated in the 2016 presidential election.
Australians are induced to vote with both sticks and carrots. Shirkers can be fined up to nearly 80 Australian dollars if they fail to show at the polls. But voting, which always takes place on a Saturday, is also made easy and efficient, and is often accompanied by a community barbecue that includes eating what locals affectionately call “democracy sausages.”
As Americans prepare to vote in the midterm elections, we asked our readers in Australia to share their experiences and feelings about compulsory voting and explain the ins and outs of the process.
Please select this link to read the complete article from The New York Times.