Paul Lachine

¿Por qué votar?

Como ciudadano australiano, voté en las recientes elecciones celebradas en ese país. Lo mismo hizo el 95 por ciento de los votantes australianos registrados. Esa cifra contrasta claramente con las elecciones celebradas en los Estados Unidos, donde la participación en las elecciones presidenciales de 2004 apenas superó el 60 por ciento. En las elecciones al Congreso que corresponden a la mitad de un mandato presidencial, suele molestarse en votar menos del 40 por ciento de los americanos con derecho a hacerlo.

Hay una razón para que tantos australianos voten. En el decenio de 1920, cuando la participación de los votantes fue inferior al 60 por ciento, el Parlamento aprobó la obligatoriedad del voto. Desde entonces, pese a que ha habido gobiernos de diferentes orientaciones, no ha habido ningún intento serio de revocar esa ley, que, según muestran las encuestas de opinión, apoya el 70 por ciento, aproximadamente, de la población.

Los australianos que no votan reciben una carta en la que se les pregunta por qué. Los que carezcan de una excusa aceptable, como una enfermedad o un viaje al extranjero, deberán pagar una pequeña multa, pero el número de multados es inferior al 1 por ciento de los ciudadanos con derecho al voto.

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