Articles on Voting

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Selma director and co-writer Ava DuVernay has crafted a new and important vision of an oft-examined era in our nation’s history. Stanley Wolfson/Library of Congress

Selma blurs line between past and present

Hollywood films that depict American history deeply influence our sense of national identity. Films that portray Civil Rights and Black Freedom history are particularly important. Beyond entertaining moviegoers…
If you’re a Queenslander, don’t forget to pack some ID to comply with new rules at the upcoming state election. AAP/Tony Phillips

Queenslanders now have to prove their identity to vote – but why?

In a first for an Australian general election, when Queenslanders head to the polls on January 31 they’ll need more than loose change for the sausage sizzle and cake stalls – they now also need to bring…
Have walkies policies won over the canine community? Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Bye bye swivel eyes: how UKIP transformed to woo the masses

As UKIP makes parliamentary gains at every turn, it no longer seems possible to dismiss the party as a group of anti-EU obsessives that has little in common with mainstream politics. The days of the swivel-eyed…
Some people definitely aren’t convinced. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Will Osborne’s Autumn Statement swing the vote?

George Osborne has delivered his latest Autumn Statement, announcing there has been no recession during this parliament and forecasting that the British economy will grow by 3% this year. This final Autumn…
Parties who gained a very small first preference vote look set to be elected to Victoria’s upper house. AAP/Luis Enrique Ascui

How to make Australia’s upper houses truly democratic

The final count for Victoria’s Legislative Council is still some days away, but it appears members elected from micro-parties will hold the balance of power in the upper house. This will be a challenge…
Comedian Stephen Colbert at the 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Reuters

Satire might not sway votes, but that isn’t the point

John Oliver’s new program Last Week Tonight is the most recent addition to the parody news genre. Like its predecessors, the show frequently mocks American politics; for example, an attention-grabbing…
The outside is being renovated, but what about the inside? Jim Bourg/Reuters

How to make the House of Representatives representative

Foundation essay: This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and analysis articles and take a wider look…
Treasurer Joe Hockey and his Coalition colleagues continue to demand that their opponents ‘respect the mandate of the new government and the will of the people and vote with the government’. AAP/Gary Schafer

The ‘will of the people’? It’s the bastardisation of democracy

The Abbott government, when faced with opposition over the past year, has commonly resorted to two lifeline statements. The first is that it’s carrying out the “will of the people”. And the second is that…
One political scientist recently claimed that the evidence isn’t strong enough for lowering the voting age in Australia to 16. What are the arguments to the contrary? AAP/Lukas Coch

How young is too young? The case for lowering the voting age

Pressure is building in democracies around the world to lower the voting age to 16. For national elections, Brazil (in 1988), Austria (2007) and Argentina (2012) have led the way. For local elections…
Politicians mustn’t turn their backs on young people. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Make the vote meaningful for young people – not compulsory

Young people’s relationship with politics in Britain is often considered to be both complex and problematic. On the one hand, this generation is often characterised as apathetic, with no interest in, or…
Will a number of Western Australians vote differently in the Senate re-vote than how they voted in September? AAP/Lukas Coch

Survey explores WA electorate’s shifts between Senate votes

Most Western Australian voters are justifiably annoyed at having to vote again as a result of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) losing 1370 Senate votes cast in the September 2013 federal election…
Liberal leader Will Hodgman casts his vote in the 2010 Tasmanian election. But just how is Tasmania’s lower house elected? AAP/Julian Smith

Tasmania election: what is the Hare-Clark system?

After trading blows around predictable topics, the only issue of consensus in a recent televised debate between the leaders of the Tasmanian Liberal and Labor parties, Will Hodgman and Lara Giddings, was…
Are fixed term elections the answer to the AEC’s problems, as identified in the report into the handling of the ballot papers in Western Australia? AAP/Lukas Coch

WA Senate ballot farce: fix the date, fix the problems

The release of Mick Keelty’s report on the missing Western Australian Senate ballot papers from the 2013 federal election gives us an unusually in-depth look at how the Australian Electoral Commission…
Queensland has witnessed many firsts in Australian politics, and is set to be the first state in Australia to institute controversial voter ID laws. AAP/Martin Silk

Voter ID laws will fail poor, Indigenous and homeless Queenslanders

The Queensland government last week introduced a bill to parliament that, when passed, will make voter identification a prerequisite for casting a ballot. This is a first for Australia and follows several…
Banged up: a Bill on prisoners’ voting rights is presently before parliament. PA Archive

Prisoners should not be locked out of democracy

The news that Peter Chester and George McGeoch have had their Supreme Court appeal against the ban on prison inmates voting dismissed will cause few people on the outside to lose much sleep - in fact the…

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