It’s election time which means that beyond all the promises and press conferences, structural questions are being asked too. How do we get a clearer picture of what is actually being promised? Why are more and more Australians opting to vote early? Is this a problem? And why, when it comes down to it, do we need to vote at all? Crikey readers share their thoughts:

On compulsory voting

Wayne Robinson writes: If voting is made compulsory, then voting has to be made easy, which the AEC has done. In other democracies, with voluntary voting, voting is made (deliberately) difficult. In Britain, you have to re-register yearly and vote on a Thursday (a workday) at your local booth (even if you work hundreds of kilometres away). Australia has the best electoral system.

On early voting

Mark Dunstone writes: Early voters missing out on the details of political parties’ stated policies is irrelevant because as we know those “stated policies” have little to do with the “actual policies” they implement if elected. I would say early voters are able to make a more informed vote because they are less able to be misled by all lies.

On pork barrelling

John and Trish McPhee write: One way to get around the pork barrelling of election campaigns would be to legislate that all parties/independents must have their policies announced and independently costed before the close of nominations — and make it illegal to announce new spending measures during the campaign. The election campaign then becomes a presentation, debate and discussion of policy, not endless pork barrelling announcements, which just turn off voters because they know they are mostly bullshit anyway. 

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