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Old 30th October 2018, 10:13 PM   #1
arthwollipot
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NYT: What voting is like in Australia

Australia Tells America: Hereís How to Fix Your Voting System

The headline is a little misleading, since no-one here is telling America how to fix its voting system. But there are a few things about voting in Australia explained.

Quote:
The dirty work of democracy is often compared to the making of sausages, but Australians almost take that maxim literally ó 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 ďdemocracy sausages.Ē

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.
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Old 30th October 2018, 11:01 PM   #2
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"grilling of hotdogs" ?
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Old 30th October 2018, 11:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by deverett View Post
"grilling of hotdogs" ?
Yeah, we forgive the NYT for that goof. They are, after all, writing for an American audience, and America doesn't have an equivalent to the classic Aussie sausage. So they substitute a term that is close enough to get the message across.
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Old 30th October 2018, 11:22 PM   #4
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Old 30th October 2018, 11:54 PM   #5
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What is this "Democracy Sausage" of which they speak?


I have never heard this phrase used in 50 years of voting, Federal, State and local. I am certainly familiar with Sausage Sizzles, which are everywhere on a Saturday including outside supermarkets and shopping complexes, on beaches, in backyards (I was eating sausages in Bread over 60 years ago), and on election days as local community fundraisers.



But Democracy Sausage? It was, is and always will be a Sausage Sizzle, and is not even close to defining snags eaten outside a Polling Booth on election days. Some people vote early, and don't have breakfast just thinking they will grab a sausage and a Coffee at the Community Hall/School, RSL etc. That is the tradition.



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Old 31st October 2018, 12:25 AM   #6
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Tell us about "Donkey Votes", and the importance of position on the ballot paper in a system of compulsory voting.

Then tell us how an Aussie sausage isn't just an English sausage.
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Old 31st October 2018, 12:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Tell us about "Donkey Votes", and the importance of position on the ballot paper in a system of compulsory voting.
The reality is that compulsory voting is a permanent fixture in Australia. We have compulsory taxation and compulsory compliance with the law. Some donít vote, donít pay taxes and break the law. They face the consequences, a very minor fine in the case of not voting.

Iím not sure of the effect of donkey voting, but Iím pretty convinced it is minor. In almost every case one of the two major parties win in the lower house. If the practice of voting 1,2,3 etc down the ballot paper was prevalent I think you would see far more minor parties and independents get up (yes, I know itís complicated by the preferential system).
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Old 31st October 2018, 12:50 AM   #8
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The point being that if someone doesn't want to vote but feels forced to by the fine, then the outcome is generally spoiled ballot papers or a donkey vote........in which case there is actually a negative in forcing those people to have voted in the first place.
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Old 31st October 2018, 12:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Australia Tells America: Hereís How to Fix Your Voting System

The headline is a little misleading, since no-one here is telling America how to fix its voting system. But there are a few things about voting in Australia explained.
Oh my gawd, there is ketchup on those sausages. You people are animals.
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Old 31st October 2018, 12:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
The point being that if someone doesn't want to vote but feels forced to by the fine, then the outcome is generally spoiled ballot papers or a donkey vote........in which case there is actually a negative in forcing those people to have voted in the first place.
Do you have evidence for this? I doubt it is correct. In my experience reluctant voters grab the voting guide of their least despised party and follow that.

ETA if a reluctant voter wanted simply to spoil their vote they would vote informal. After all, any blind, or donkey, vote would still elect a politician.

Yet we know informal votes are very few. In the recent Wentworth by election, they were below 1%.

No, I think when people are compelled to vote, they almost always take it seriously.
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Old 31st October 2018, 02:05 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
The point being that if someone doesn't want to vote but feels forced to by the fine, then the outcome is generally spoiled ballot papers or a donkey vote........in which case there is actually a negative in forcing those people to have voted in the first place.
In the case of a spoiled ballot, what's the actual negative impact? A spoiled paper gives a much clearer message than simply not turning up at the polling station.

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Old 31st October 2018, 02:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
In the case of a spoiled ballot, what's the actual negative impact? A spoiled paper gives a much clearer message than simply not turning up at the polling station.

Dave
Thatís true, but it happens so rarely it makes the news, like the voter in the Wentworth by election who crossed out all other candidates and put Turnbullís name in. Took some effort.

Yes, informal (spoiled) votes is an issue, but not a big one
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Old 31st October 2018, 02:28 AM   #13
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Okay, I did underestimate the total informal vote. Over the nation at the last election it was 5%. This, of course, includes simple mistakes, like someone who only puts in the first preference and not others, and people who put in A B C rather than 1 2 3. So bigger than I guesstimated, but still not a major issue in my view.
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Old 31st October 2018, 03:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by deverett View Post
"grilling of hotdogs" ?
Also my initial incredulity...
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Old 31st October 2018, 03:53 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Tell us about "Donkey Votes", and the importance of position on the ballot paper in a system of compulsory voting.

Then tell us how an Aussie sausage isn't just an English sausage.
In preference voting Donkey Votes can be dealt with by randomising the order of candidates on different papers.
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Old 31st October 2018, 03:56 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
The reality is that compulsory voting is a permanent fixture in Australia. We have compulsory taxation and compulsory compliance with the law. Some donít vote, donít pay taxes and break the law. They face the consequences, a very minor fine in the case of not voting.

Iím not sure of the effect of donkey voting, but Iím pretty convinced it is minor. In almost every case one of the two major parties win in the lower house. If the practice of voting 1,2,3 etc down the ballot paper was prevalent I think you would see far more minor parties and independents get up (yes, I know itís complicated by the preferential system).
Agreed. Certainly in Ireland (which uses PR/STV) it's not an issue.
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Old 31st October 2018, 04:00 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
In preference voting Donkey Votes can be dealt with by randomising the order of candidates on different papers.
They do that here. There is a ballot to decide order, otherwise there would be a series of Aaron Aardvarks candidates or Aaussie Advance parties.....
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Old 31st October 2018, 04:44 AM   #18
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IIRC the reason for the random allocation of ballots was precisely because of that.
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Old 31st October 2018, 05:01 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Tell us about "Donkey Votes", and the importance of position on the ballot paper in a system of compulsory voting.
So we run with a preferential voting system that requires you to number each choice from one to however many candidates there are and your least prefered choice. A donkey vote is when you apathetically number down the page. A percentage of people will do that.

Quote:
Then tell us how an Aussie sausage isn't just an English sausage.
When they are packed with crocodile or kangaroo.
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Old 31st October 2018, 05:16 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Tell us about "Donkey Votes", and the importance of position on the ballot paper in a system of compulsory voting.

Then tell us how an Aussie sausage isn't just an English sausage.
Given the position is randomised before printing it has little to no effect. And an Aussie sausage has more sawdust and less meat than an English one.
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Old 31st October 2018, 05:17 AM   #21
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While it is pretty clear that there is some serious work being done in some states to reduce voter participation, the culture of voter participation in the US is pretty weak. I live in Massachusetts, which makes it very easy and convenient to vote. You can vote by mail, you can vote early (polls open every day near me for two weeks prior to election), the poll itself is open more than 12 hours on election day, and it is within walking distance of my apartment. Even still, voter participation on presidential election cycles is about 75%, and only 50% on non-presidential elections. People just aren't motivated to vote, especially for the unsexy "off-year" elections.


https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elev...rnoutstats.htm
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Old 31st October 2018, 05:18 AM   #22
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Preferential voting alone would be a massive game changer in the US. Compulsory voting I'm not so sure about.
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Old 31st October 2018, 05:19 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Craig4 View Post
Oh my gawd, there is ketchup on those sausages. You people are animals.
No there is BBQ sauce on them- ketchup is practically unheard of here
(some degenerates will put tomato sauce on them, some actually put mustard on them- these people should immediately be banned from voting for life!!!!!)

eta
a perfect sausage sizzle sanga

sausage,bbq sauce and onion
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Old 31st October 2018, 05:21 AM   #24
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Here's the thing.

Here in America the talking point of a 'silent majority,' the political equivalent of that one dofus in every online discussion who's main argument is "Well all the lurkers agree with me" is too common and well used of a talking point. It's a great way to claim a consensus or majority where none exist.

Nobody can be sure what the majority of non-voting Americans really are going to vote on if we force them to the polls. We can make educated guesses based on demographics and polling and all that, but we can't be sure.

I don't think anyone with skin the game really wants the risk of introducing a... what several tens of millions at the very least... players to the game under those circumstances.
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Old 31st October 2018, 05:22 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Craig4 View Post
Oh my gawd, there is ketchup on those sausages. You people are animals.
Tomato Sauce, while equally disgusting, is different from ketchup, it's much less sweet.
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Old 31st October 2018, 05:24 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Here's the thing.

Here in America the talking point of a 'silent majority,' the political equivalent of that one dofus in every online discussion who's main argument is "Well all the lurkers agree with me" is too common and well used of a talking point. It's a great way to claim a consensus or majority where none exist.

Nobody can be sure what the majority of non-voting Americans really are going to vote on if we force them to the polls. We can make educated guesses based on demographics and polling and all that, but we can't be sure.

I don't think anyone with skin the game really wants the risk of introducing a... what several tens of millions at the very least... players to the game under those circumstances.
Silent Majorities which are in actual fact a noisy minority exist everywhere in the world, that's not an American thing.
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Old 31st October 2018, 05:32 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Dabop View Post
No there is BBQ sauce on them- ketchup is practically unheard of here
(some degenerates will put tomato sauce on them, some actually put mustard on them- these people should immediately be banned from voting for life!!!!!)

eta
a perfect sausage sizzle sanga
https://i.postimg.cc/YCHz7m87/sausage-sizzle.png
sausage,bbq sauce and onion
Out the front of a Bunnings hardware store?
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Old 31st October 2018, 05:37 AM   #28
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Our local Bunnings has about one a month, as does the footy club, and there is one every Saturday morning at the shopping center
Sausage sizzles are an Aussie tradition at fundraisers/sporting events/wherever else groups of people congregate
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Old 31st October 2018, 06:41 AM   #29
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In NZ as well. Generally using the lowest grade 'sausage' ever. Disgusting things, although I admit I've eaten my fair share.
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Old 31st October 2018, 07:03 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Dabop View Post
......a perfect sausage sizzle sanga
........
sausage,bbq sauce and onion
White bread! Seek help.......
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Old 31st October 2018, 07:11 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
White bread! Seek help.......
It's a rule. To go with the shonky 'sausage'.
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Old 31st October 2018, 07:23 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
White bread! Seek help.......
I don't think you get the inherent Cut-me-own-throat dibblerishness of this food.
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Old 31st October 2018, 08:12 AM   #33
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Sausage? Australian politics are weird.
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Old 31st October 2018, 08:48 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
In the case of a spoiled ballot, what's the actual negative impact?
Well, there's the loss of fuel and time that accompanies the empty ritual. There's the opportunity cost, generally, of performing an empty ritual when the same effect could be achieved by simply doing anything else with your day.

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A spoiled paper gives a much clearer message than simply not turning up at the polling station.
This seems unnecessarily patronizing. You've decided for me what my non-vote is supposed to mean. You've decided for me what is the best way for me to achieve that meaning. And you've passed a law making it criminal for me not to do what you've decided is best for me. There's a lot of negative impact wrapped up in that attitude towards other people.
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Old 31st October 2018, 12:26 PM   #35
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Or you pay the fine and move on with life. We are overall less hung up on ideas of small government, interference in citizens’ lives, and tax obligations as long as there is the perception of a greater social good. At this point in time we accept obligatory voting as part of our social contract.
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Old 31st October 2018, 12:35 PM   #36
dudalb
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Yeah, we forgive the NYT for that goof. They are, after all, writing for an American audience, and America doesn't have an equivalent to the classic Aussie sausage. So they substitute a term that is close enough to get the message across.
If the Aussie Sausage is just the British "Banger"they are available in the US at the fancy gourmet Grocery stores and British themed Restaurants.

BTW I am betting that Aussies visitng the United States get a few laughs out of the "Outback Steakhouse" restaurant chain....
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Old 31st October 2018, 12:37 PM   #37
dudalb
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Originally Posted by Dabop View Post
Our local Bunnings has about one a month, as does the footy club, and there is one every Saturday morning at the shopping center
Sausage sizzles are an Aussie tradition at fundraisers/sporting events/wherever else groups of people congregate
Sounds very similar to the "Tailgate Parties" at US Football games.
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Old 31st October 2018, 12:40 PM   #38
dudalb
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
The point being that if someone doesn't want to vote but feels forced to by the fine, then the outcome is generally spoiled ballot papers or a donkey vote........in which case there is actually a negative in forcing those people to have voted in the first place.
That is my problem with manadatory voting: if somebody is not interested in politics he will be casting a vote based on total ignorance or anger at being forced to vote, and either way it's probably better if he does not vote at all.
I have never seen a convincing defense of manadatory voting,though some of the Aussies try.
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Old 31st October 2018, 12:42 PM   #39
dudalb
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Originally Posted by Dabop View Post
No there is BBQ sauce on them- ketchup is practically unheard of here
(some degenerates will put tomato sauce on them, some actually put mustard on them- these people should immediately be banned from voting for life!!!!!)

eta
a perfect sausage sizzle sanga
https://i.postimg.cc/YCHz7m87/sausage-sizzle.png
sausage,bbq sauce and onion
Nearest thing to that we have the US is the Chicago Style Hot Dog, which is a Hot DOg with a Garden of veggies on it.
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Old 31st October 2018, 12:45 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Then tell us how an Aussie sausage isn't just an English sausage.
Kangaroo meat?
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