The Gujarat Government has become the first state government to make voting compulsory for local body elections. Chief Election Commissioner H S Brahma asked: “ Will you jail voters who don’t vote?” IndiaSpend did a fact check on punishments that absentee voters may get around the world.
Jail for not voting? Well, Egypt, after the Arab spring revolution, just got free from that law.
Compulsory voting is practised in about 14% of the world’s countries in some or the other form.
There are some interesting punishments/sanctions given to people around the world who do not vote. The International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance, IDEA, which is based in Stockholm, Sweden, has compiled a list of the punishments or sanctions from around the world:
• Explanation- Stating a legitimate reason for absence
• Fine- The amount varies in different countries
• Possible imprisonment- Though there are no registered cases till now, it may happen if the absentee voter fails to pay the fine
• Disenfranchisement and reduction of civil rights- A citizen may lose the voting right if he does not vote for a long time; also, in some countries, the voters have to carry stamped voting proofs for accessing certain public services
• Social and other sanctions- Other than public utilities, some countries may disallow non-
voters from entering public services or issuing passports and driving licenses.
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