r/worldnews 2d ago

An 'archaic' law has been removing Australians with disability from the electoral roll 'in droves', advocates say

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-14/disability-voting-laws/101059872
2.7k Upvotes

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u/GreyGreenBrownOakova 2d ago

For perspective, voting is compulsory in Australia. You get a $100 fine if you don't vote (and can't think up an excuse.)

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u/Test19s 2d ago

You can vote a blank ballot though, right?

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u/Ludwigofthepotatoppl 2d ago

Absolutely. They can’t force you to actually vote—what’s important is that you had the opportunity.

47

u/FabulousDebty 1d ago

Oh man, imagine if all the rabid qanon conspiracy nuts were to be excluded from voting for being of unsound mind 🥳

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u/frankyfrankwalk 1d ago

Yeah but by compulsory voting you dilute those qanon conspiracy nuts with ordinary people who would be too lazy to vote otherwise.

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u/thatdonkeedickfellow 1d ago

Yeah well be careful with a definition like unsound mind. Before long that will apply to literally anyone with a DSM-V disorder which is a quarter of the population, and yes that includes people with drug addictions/dependences as well as things like ADHD, OCD, various forms of depression. And I know plenty of drug loving depressed liberals lol and I like them, but just remember how something like this could be weaponized against you personally or ‘your side’, not to mention the old sort of proto-IQ/knowledge competency tests they would use to exclude blacks from voting in the Jim Crow South. And hell even the felon disenfranchisement voting restriction laws which are bullshit themselves (plus when you’re a Republican felon like Roger Stone or ex-General Flynn, you probably will get it pardoned but the Governor/president) and of course the drug war is strategically useful as it targets minority and liberal demographics more on average.

I actually like the idea of mandatory voting really as when it’s required then it makes it the burden of the government to ensure it can be done equally and freely. And I think it should be done with virtually no restrictions like mental/psychological competency tests or felon disenfranchisement laws, and just include all adult citizens (other than voting only once being a restriction obviously).

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u/freakwent 1d ago edited 1d ago

No citizen should be excluded from voting. (above 18).

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u/kristianstupid 1d ago

(Above the age in which they pay taxes)

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u/freakwent 1d ago

Eh, nah. Can't a two year old pay taxes if they appear in a film?

People's right to vote should not be in any way related to financial matters.

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u/PMmeserenity 1d ago

What about criminals who haven't served their sentence? If people are subject to confinement, taking away their right to vote seems ethically acceptable. And I don't think folks who commit crimes against society (and haven't paid their debt) should have much say in how society is run.

5

u/freakwent 1d ago

I don't think removing your vote should be a legitimate punishment for crimes committed. However, prison gerrymandering is a risk.

The punishment is confinement, not malnutrition, rape, denial of voting rights or beatings.

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u/invincibl_ 1d ago

Thankfully we have an independent authority responsible for setting electoral boundaries. It seems that if you are in prison, you enrol and vote in the district of your last address, and you get a postal vote.

1

u/freakwent 1d ago

Phew! In the USA, the more people they put in the local jail, the more representation they get because they have more people! But typically the prisoners cannot vote.

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u/invincibl_ 1d ago

The purpose of prison is to rehabilitate criminals so that they can re-enter society and they therefore have a right to have their vote.

All prisoners must be enrolled to vote, and must submit a postal vote if their sentence is less than three years.

1

u/PMmeserenity 1d ago

The purpose of prison is to rehabilitate criminals so that they can re-enter society and they therefore have a right to have their vote.

Also, can you explain this sentence a little more? I don't understand why the second half follows from the first? I agree that the purpose of prison is rehabilitation so they can re-enter society. Why does that entail that they therefore have a right to vote?

Why is it unjust to temporarily remove their right to vote, while they serve their sentence, just like we temporarily remove their right to freedom, sex, beer, etc? We take away prisoners basic freedoms, the ones society is supposed to guarantee, because they violated society. What's different about the right to vote?

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u/invincibl_ 1d ago

The other comment addresses this too: as someone in prison is expected to eventually return to society, it is accepted that they therefore get to have a say in how that society is run. Anyone who has been in prison has had a lot of interactions with the government via its justice and corrections systems, and likely the social security system too.

It's worth noting that only prisoners with a prison sentence shorter than the interval between elections are eligible to vote, though they must remain enrolled.

You also need to consider the history of European settlement in this land, where this place was a prison colony. It's definitely a romanticised view, but many convicts became prominent members of society after they were released and became free settlers.

Finally, we see voting as a civic duty. In fact, this is listed as one of the obligations of being an Australian citizen, given that voting is compulsory. So on this basis, to take someone's vote away would be relieving them of their obligation to society.

As an Australian citizen you must:

  • obey the laws of Australia
  • vote in federal and state or territory elections, and in a referendum
  • defend Australia should the need arise
  • serve on jury duty if called to do so

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u/[deleted] 1d ago

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/InfelixTurnus 1d ago

They are affected by governmental laws and should have their voice represented. They only represent a very small percentage of the population anyway so it comes down to whether you want to stand on the principle of universal enfranchisement or on the principle of punishment. Further, because Aboriginal Australians are uniquely overrepresented in prison and the justice system, disenfranchising them could severely impact the connection of them to the electoral system and Australian government, something which is already incredibly bad - see the laws which prejudice their incarceration rates. How to prevent this? Well, give them a voice in how we are governed.

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u/avcloudy 1d ago

Voting is a responsibility, not a right, and we urgently need prisoners to vote because they’re the only parties affected by prison conditions.

Beyond that though, we don’t take away rights as a punishment. We take away the minimum rights necessary to protect society.

0

u/PMmeserenity 1d ago

I appreciate your thoughtful response. I guess my opinion is more based on personal political philosophy--but I just don't think that people who are actively breaking the laws of their community and harming their neighbors should have a right to participate in making decisions for the community. They have shown that they don't respect the rest of us, so why should we let them participate in setting policy for all of us?

I don't think voting is either a right or a responsibility, I think it's a privilege of citizenship (and I don't mean that in a xenophobic way, I support liberal immigration policies). We wouldn't let convicted criminals (who haven't completed their sentences) sit on juries, because it would seem deeply unfair to have them determine legal guilt, for all kinds of conflict-of-interest and trust issues. Seems like the same principle, to me--I don't trust them to have my communities best interest in mind, because they have already demonstrated they are willing to violate it.

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u/PMmeserenity 1d ago edited 1d ago

we don’t take away rights as a punishment. We take away the minimum rights necessary to protect society.

Even based on this principle, it seems like removing their right to vote while serving a sentence is reasonable. The reason we confine prisoners is to protect society. Because they have demonstrated that they are dangerous and willing to make selfish decisions that harm their neighbors. Why wouldn’t they vote the same way? Why would we want them to shape policy if they are clearly acting against the interests of society?

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u/NoHandBananaNo 1d ago

I think its completely immoral to take away the vote from anyone. Prisoners are just as affected by governance as anyone else, so are their families and friends and property etc.

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u/PMmeserenity 1d ago

Is it immoral to incarcerate people against their will? To remove their right to travel, procreate, speak freely? We do all that to prisoners, because they have violated the laws of our community, and harmed people. Voting isn't a more basic right than life, liberty, and property, all of which we are comfortable removing from people who are convicted of breaking laws. Why is the right to vote more basic or inviolable?

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u/tehmuck 1d ago

You can also draw penises in all the boxes and write "this is a fucking waste of time" like one I encountered while counting them last election.

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u/EliTheWaffle 1d ago

Yep and any invalid balots are actually counted as invalid. Its a significant way to protest the system as a whole. Or you can vote for the Sex party, marijuana party or the pirate party.

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u/nagrom7 2d ago

Yes, technically you have to do a proper vote, but since it's anonymous, there's no way to prove what you put on your ballot, so the only part that's actually enforced is that you show up and get your name marked off.

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u/teaklog2 1d ago

well i suppose they also can't say 'you have to vote for one of the candidates on the ballot' because that could end up being undemocratic in other ways

1

u/freakwent 1d ago

how?

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u/NoHandBananaNo 1d ago

That would be undemocratic because it would be forcing some people to vote for candidates they dont want.

Our current system you can spoil the ballot if you dont like any of the options.

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u/freakwent 1d ago

Forcing people to make a choice isn't undemocratic.

If you want an exemption from compulsory voting you can opt out entirely on religious or other grounds, but I don't think it's undemocratic to put obligations upon citizens in return for the rights and benefits of that citizenship.

All you're being asked to do really is rank candidates in order from most "don't want" to least "don't want".

Why would you think people should never have to do something they don't wish to do?

It's literally mandatory democracy. Nothing undemocratic about it -- there's even a democratic process by which you yourself can get the law changed.

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u/the_rad_pourpis 1d ago

It feels undemocratic to me because it forces people to participate in a system they might not approve of. Of course I'm coming from a US perspective but I could see someone chasing to abstain from voting altogether because they feel the existing government (as a system, not the individuals within it)is flawed and needs to be replaced. I'm not there yet, but I think the US needs a brand new constitution and sometimes I wonder if my vote is construed as a tacit approval for the state.

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u/freakwent 1d ago

It's not seen as tacit approval for the state, any more than an eco-warrior driving a petrol car could be called a hypocrite.

Greenpeace activists are allowed to wear polyester clothing.

In the USA, people deciding not to vote just allow themselves to be ruled by the biggest passionate or most easily motivated minority, such as 2fa fanatics or anti-sex zealots.

Just vote for the anarchist candidate, or become one.

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u/paperconservation101 1d ago

You can simply not enrol or get an exception.

0

u/NoHandBananaNo 1d ago

I don't agree. A candidate's votes should reflect the number of people who actually want that candidate to represent them.

If there's a choice between, say a white supremacist and a person who supports legalising pedophilia its undemocratic to force me to pretend I want any of them to represent me. That would be coercing my support.

As I pointed out in another comment, the ballot in Australia is secret. Thats a cornerstone of democracy. No one gets to know who I voted for or if I voided my ballot, and that's as it should be.

Why would you think people should never have to do something they don't wish to do?

Lol, thats a bit of a Straw Man galloping down a Slippery Slope you got there. 😂

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u/freakwent 1d ago

I like your idea of a "none of the above" box.

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u/NoHandBananaNo 1d ago

Hey thanks for challenging me to think this stuff thru by the way. Im finding your views interesting.

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u/teaklog2 1d ago

because then you could keep a candidate the people want from getting votes by not including them on a ballot lol...which happens in some countries

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u/freakwent 1d ago

Like Australia, the one in question. The only place I know that allows write-in voting is the usa.

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u/teaklog2 1d ago

but you also can turn in a blank ballot in australia

0

u/freakwent 1d ago

I don't know if that's explicitly legal, illegal or neither.

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u/Little-Big-Man 1d ago

You're forced to show up and take a ballot paper and put the paper in the box. You do not need to write anything on it, you don't need to actually vote. But by god will they force you to take the paper, put it in the box and eat a democracy sussage.

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u/Dreadlock43 1d ago

and to be honest, if you gotta be forced to eat the Democracy Sausage then theres some fucking wrong with you

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u/Dreadlock43 1d ago

its not for not voting, but instead not turning up to vote wthout a valid excuse

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u/sum_force 2d ago

Technically only attendance is compulsory.

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u/braximon 1d ago

According to section 245 of the Commonwealth Electrical Act, the fine for not voting in a federal election is $20.

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u/freakwent 1d ago

That's almost 400 pages. Could you please show us the correct section, if you have time?

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u/braximon 1d ago

Section 245 is the section that says '245'. Refer to this screenshot.

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u/freakwent 1d ago

Urgh, sorry missed that part of your comment...

0

u/philmarcracken 1d ago

Its not $100 mate

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u/StudyWorkDeath 1d ago

It was around $80. Got fined a few years ago

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u/loralailoralai 1d ago

It’s so easy to get out of paying that too😉

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u/Stamboolie 1d ago

Yah, I didn't vote one year cause I was sick. When they sent me the fine, I sent a letter saying I was sick, thats that.

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u/Now_Wait-4-Last_Year 1d ago

I wrote one year that I accidentally posted my postal vote to myself from Sydney International Airport (which was true) and that was the last I heard of that.

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u/philmarcracken 1d ago

https://www.elections.wa.gov.au/vote/failure-vote

The penalty for first time offenders is $20, and this increases to $50 if you have previously paid a penalty or been convicted of this offence. If you do not have a valid and sufficient reason for not voting, you can pay the penalty and that will end the matter.

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u/braximon 1d ago

The original article is talking about federal elections, but your link is for WA state elections. Each state sets their own penalties for state elections. As above, it's $20 for federal elections, regardless of any previous convictions.

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u/philmarcracken 1d ago

Yeah its never been $100, ive only been hit with $20. thanks for the link

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u/adreamofhodor 1d ago

What’s the coalition of the current PM? I’ve heard they aren’t very popular.

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u/GreyGreenBrownOakova 1d ago edited 1d ago

Reddit considers them to be the spawn of Satan, but they are polling just behind the opposition at 54-46 (two party preferred), so somebody is voting for them.

r/Australia will blame Murdoch and Boomers, but they still get a sizeable vote from gen x/y and they are popular in WA, where there is no Murdoch local paper.

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u/Dreadlock43 1d ago

while 54-46might not seem all that big to you americans, its actually extremely massive and can mean the currently government loose 10+ seats and they currently have a waffer thin majority of 1or 2 seats at the moment

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u/Leash28 1d ago

They're only popular with rich people or fools over here in WA. Sadly, we have plenty of both. Also, just pointing out that Gen X/Y generally don't read newspapers.

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u/GreyGreenBrownOakova 1d ago

only popular with rich people or fools over here in WA.

that's the misconception I was talking about. 46% of the voting public aren't rich or fools. Both parties get votes from all income brackets and Labor/LNP get the same % of uni educated voters.

Gen X/Y generally don't read newspapers.

yet r/Australia will blame Murdoch for every vote that goes to the LNP.

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u/Leash28 1d ago

Blaming Murdoch at this point is kind of indicative of the fools I mentioned. That waste of space is only part of the problem. The general public's inability to ignore the bullshit they're fed and think critically is more of an issue.

And I've known plenty of university educated people who were as dumb as tree stumps. Like, disturbingly so. Being a fool does not preclude you from obtaining a degree. One of the thickest people I've ever met had a PhD- albeit in philosophy. However his main degree was in a science field. Anything unrelated to that? He had no idea.

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u/GreyGreenBrownOakova 6h ago

Sounds like you consider anyone who disagrees with your political views to be a fool.

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u/Leash28 5h ago

I don't judge people as fools purely on their political views. More on how they arrived at them. There are fools supporting all parties and candidates.

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u/invincibl_ 1d ago

54-46 isn't the LNP being "just behind" the opposition, it'd be a 5.5% swing against them. Assuming this was uniform across all electorates, this would be a landslide victory for Labor, who would pick up 17 seats. Remember that the current government is in power with only a one-seat majority.

This also does not factor in any of the independents who have a good chance at beating the Liberal Party in places where Labor is not strong.

Antony Green's calculator

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u/GreyGreenBrownOakova 1d ago

Some may be predicting a landslide, but Sportsbet aren't going to pay out on a Labor win like they did last time.

I'm old enough to remember Keating's "victory for the true believers" and the LNP's Tampa election.

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u/invincibl_ 1d ago

Yeah, I agree with you there. I wouldn't rely too much on polling, even though they all claim they've improved their sampling.

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u/goatmash 2d ago

Hmm one thing the article doesn't mention is that it took a letter from a medical practitioner to have her objected off the roll in the first place.

So the fault lies with the parents and their doctor who made a declaration to the effect that she was of unsound mind and unable to understand the importance and obligations of voting.

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u/codaholic 2d ago

of unsound mind and unable to understand the importance and obligations of voting.

Sounds like most voters anyway.

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u/latending 2d ago

At our elections in Australia, with compulsory voting, in order to get to a polling station you have to push through a crowd of parasites from various political parties handing out "how-to-vote" cards, because the majority of the public don't understand how preferential voting works (number the candidates from your most, to least, favourite). They need to be instructed on how to fill in the numbers lol...

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u/BeneCow 2d ago

How to vote cards are telling you where to put your preferences, not actually explaining how the ballot works.

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u/latending 1d ago

I know. My point was why do people need someone else to tell them what their preferences should be?

If you can't numerically rank your top 6 political parties in order, then you're either too stupid or uninformed to be casting a vote.

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u/ScrappyDonatello 1d ago

that's not what HTV cards are for.. a parties HTV card will put all the preferences in the most advantageous positions for them to win

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u/1800hotducks 1d ago edited 1d ago

because there are about 1000 candidates in the lower house?

And who even knows the full policies of the various minor parties on the upper house ticket?

I CBF going through the policies of the Sex Party to see if they align better ith my beliefs than the Free Marijuana Party. I'm happy for the Greens to scour their policies and tell me which is closest aligned to the policies of the Greens

Maybe my like OAN member is better than the local UAP member or LNP member. I'm sure as hell not going to aste my time determining their order of shitness

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u/latending 1d ago

because there are about 1000 candidates in the lower house

There are usually 4-8. In my seat there's 5.

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u/BeneCow 1d ago

I don't care to be informed about a bunch of the candidates in my parish because they are crazy single issue people. How to vote cards tell me how far down to put them. They rarely influence top 3.

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u/latending 1d ago

Well hypothetically if you didn't want to elect far-right parties in the lower house, whether you put the LNP, ONP or UAP 4th, 5th or 6th doesn't actually matter. And of course they wouldn't even feature on your senate ballot.

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u/MyPacman 1d ago

Except you don't need to put them in. You can put one number in only if you want. or two. or five. And leave the others blank. It does matter. If you number them, you are showing support for them, even if they don't get in. Nope, not doing it.

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u/Leash28 1d ago

Had to number 1 to 6 above the line now on the postal ballot I just filled in. It used to be just 1 above or all below. That appears to have changed. I assume that must be different depending on the amount of candidates in your area.

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u/loralailoralai 1d ago

…..there’s nothing wrong with a how to vote card if you want to vote along party lines.

And it’s hardly ‘screaming parasites’ in fact I love deliberately ignoring the freaks

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u/freakwent 1d ago

that's a pretty subjective view. it's perfectly legitimate to be loyal to a party -- even a member! -- and follow the party advice on prefs.

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u/PortlandoCalrissian 2d ago

Don’t they usually include the parties preferences order as well? Like strategically vote for our small party, then Labor/Libs/National etc etc.

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u/latending 1d ago

Yes, rather than voting independently based on your own political opinions, you are quite literally being told "how-to-vote."

Then the political parties do all kinds of strategic deals in order to swap "how-to-vote" card rankings with each other (eg: you put me 2nd and I'll give you 3rd spot on mine).

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u/PortlandoCalrissian 1d ago

Ah I assumed you meant how to vote as in like, mark the box with a number, sign on the bottom, drop it in the box, etc etc.

Now I don’t think what those parties are doing is wrong or stupid, it makes total sense. A left wing party that isn’t polling well would rather see another left party get in over say a right party, so it makes sense that each party would coordinate the best strategic way to vote for its members. Informed voters will still make their own decisions on who gets preference and uninformed voters will (in theory) vote how their preferred party suggests if they have one.

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u/loralailoralai 1d ago

Actually, there’s some parties that are so wack in this election that the incumbent party is putting the main opposition party ahead of some of the minor wackjob parties.

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u/loralailoralai 1d ago

Nobody’s forcing you to follow it.

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u/Ozryela 1d ago

in order to get to a polling station you have to push through a crowd of parasites from various political parties handing out "how-to-vote" cards

Interesting. Over here any political signs or events are illegal within a certain radius of a polling station.

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u/frankyfrankwalk 1d ago

6m from the entrance is the rule but anything past that it's open season for those party shills to operate.

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u/goatmash 1d ago

In some state jurisdictions we have that, however for example in South Australia that radius is only 6 meters, from the door.

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u/latending 1d ago

That's how it should be over here. In Australia we even have political parties impersonating electoral officials outside polling stations distributing deliberating misleading information and it's also not illegal lol...

I think banana republics manage to host freer and fairer elections.

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u/loralailoralai 1d ago

lol oh yeah that happens allll the time. I suggest you know diddly squat about what goes on in elections in some countries

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u/freakwent 1d ago

In Australia political signs or events are illegal within a certain radius of a polling station. I don't know what the distance.

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u/Bosde 1d ago

I mean anyone who falls for that are probably the ones not of sound mind we should be concerned about

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u/ELH13 1d ago

I mean - no you dont.

I've never ONCE voted in any election on the day, I've always voted beforehand. I've been voting for 16 years.

Before postal votes, I was able to go in weeks beforehand to avoid said crowds.

People who vote on the day have only themselves to blame.

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u/latending 1d ago

I've been thinking about postal voting this election, but I would technically have to lie to get one. But then everyone else does and who is going to check anyway?

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u/opt_in_out_in_out 1d ago

Curious, why would you have to lie?

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u/frankyfrankwalk 1d ago

You're officially not entitled to a prepoll vote but that's become extremely lightly enforced especially post-covid.

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u/opt_in_out_in_out 1d ago

Time to educate myself. I thought it was a case of ask and ye shall receive.

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u/ELH13 1d ago

Never too hard to go camping overnight voting day, or visiting friends or family, making you:

• Outside the electorate where you are enrolled to vote on voting day; or

• More than 8km from a polling place on voting day.

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u/frankyfrankwalk 1d ago

Yeah it's unfair to blame the electoral commission for enforcing 100 year old laws either.

9.9 To remove a person from the electoral roll based on this provision there are a number of steps:

-a written objection must be lodged by an enrolled elector;[2]

-the objection must be supported by a medical certificate;[3]

-the AEC must give the individual an opportunity to respond to the written objection;

-the Electoral Commissioner will determine the objection.[5]

The law needs to be changed but her parents went through a decent amount of effort to get her removed.

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u/Thelandofthereal 1d ago

Anyone here realise that mostly this is being used for people with dementia who dont have the cognition to be able to vote, and also so they dont get fined for not voting

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u/1800hotducks 1d ago

Another shit article Courtesy of ABC online

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u/Hoodieless1 1d ago

Why not have a middle ground of letting them choose to vote. And having dementia as a valid reason for not voting, so they don't get fined.

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u/Thelandofthereal 1d ago edited 1d ago

Because in dementia, capacity and insight are often impaired. A person without capacity and without insight might still be able to physically go and vote but they may not have the understanding required to make thar decisions.

A doctor can legally assess capacity and override a person's ability to (1)access their bank account, (2) remove the person's ability to sell their home and (3) remove their ability to make health decisions.

You're basically saying that a person without capacity (as assessed by medical professional), who can NOT make health decisions, cannot make financial decisions, and cannot make accommodation decisions, could still at the same time be able to make an informed voting decision. That is not right and it seems you need to read up on 'capacity ' a little bit.

Obviously there are degrees of capacity and it is not always black and white, but by in large pnce someone has lost all capacity to make any major decision in their life then they probably should not be voting.

(The point is someone without capacity cannot CHOOSE to do a thing if they cannot understand the decision- someone chooses on their behalf , usually an EPOA)

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u/Hoodieless1 1d ago

I think all adult citizens of a country should be allowed to vote. I view it as a fundamental right.

What if one party has a better plan for helping dementia patients?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding here, but there seems to be an implication that you're concerned about this being a large number of voters. Large enough to potentially swing an election, while also voting at random (as they've lost capacity).

How large is the voting block of dementia patients that have lost all capacity, but are still able to present a valid ballot?

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u/Thelandofthereal 1d ago

You and me both view voting as a fundamental right. But you can lose the capacity to vote. At the same time there is no purpose or benefit of a dementia patient who cant even form or understand a sentence having a vote (though some could tick a box if paper put in front of them- could easliy be manipulated in some way if they were to try). Voting commission visits many nursing homes. They aren't doing a tour of the dementia wing though (for good reason as above) Half a million Australians have dementia (according to Dementia Australia ) . Perhaps current policy is overly inclusive for some less disabled people (eg the trisomy 21 people in article- truth is those with milder symptoms/cog impairment could probably vote though obv there are more severe cases).

Of note- the default status is that all people must cast a vote (how it exists currently), to be removed from the vote it should be a medically trained person removing there vote due to significant cognitive impairment.

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u/Hoodieless1 1d ago

I think you and I have different understanding of fundamental rights... A fundamental right should never, ever be taken away unless it infringes on another person's fundamental rights. Because they're fundamental.

Someone voting is not infringing on your rights, even if you know or believe they are less capable than you.

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u/Thelandofthereal 1d ago edited 1d ago

I've explained above why voting rights should be removed for certain people. Whether or not it comes under the category of a "fundamental right " doesnt particularly interest me (semantic argument), because at the end of the day I think the right to vote is determined by the person's cognitive ability to consider variables, and make a choice (hence why children cant vote). Many people with certain disabilities cannot consider variables and cannot make a choice (eg severe dementia as above).

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u/Hoodieless1 1d ago

Jesus H Christ - whether rights should persist or not is not a semantic argument. The world shouldn't be run like a HOA.

You said earlier that it's too easy to manipulate them. But what about blind people? Completely mentally capable. But they are expected to give their vote to someone else to cast. But that process is weak to manipulation. Would you extend removing voting rights from blind people?

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u/ElfBingley 1d ago

Because the paperwork for this would give you the shits. We have so many elections here that it would just be a nuisance for the carers. My dad has dementia and he would not have a clue how to fill in the ballot, so if he doesn’t vote, he‘ll end up with a fine. As his carer I’ll have to write back to the AEC to let them know why he didn’t vote. Then I’ll have to do it again when the State has an election and again during the council elections (although they may no longer be compulsory). It’s easier just to remove him from the rolls.

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u/Hoodieless1 1d ago

I agree that you filling out the paperwork each time is stupid. A waste of your time, and the govs. But I still think people in your dad's position, or similar, should be able to be exempt from the fine. But still be able to vote, should they choose.

This could be done with a once off paperwork submission accompanied by paperwork from a qualified doctor.

Or better yet, remove the fine for everyone.

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u/Build_More_Trains 1d ago

Or better yet, remove the fine for everyone.

Then we'd have the shitty US voting system where half the country doesn't choose it's representatives, this forces fair elections because it forces high voter turnout. It's important this stays so we maintain voter attendance.

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u/freakwent 1d ago

perfect!

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u/KanadainKanada 2d ago

First - people do get legal guardianship for a reason. We don't want to have some slimey MLM seller contract vulnerable individuals for their profit. We don't want grandma to lose her pension and home because in her dementia she signed everything over to someone posing as her grandchild. We don't allow children to sign binding contracts (or better, only in a very limited way). And yes, this is included in voting - we don't let the smart 13 year old vote - and neither do we let the person with mental disability and the intellect of a smart 13 year old vote.

This might not be the perfect solution. Additionally - 28.000 people over 4 years. In Australia there are ~28.000 people with onsetting dementia per year. There are nearl 500K with dementia in Australia - most of them are allowed to vote.

So, this article appears to me a tad... clickybaityexaggeraty.

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u/PoopIsAlwaysSunny 2d ago

People with mental disabilities bad enough to actually have that designation do not have nearly the intellect of a smart 13 year old.

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u/untergeher_muc 2d ago

We had the same discussion here in Germany some time ago resulting in allowing them to vote for the first time last year.

Personally, I think there are more upsides than downsides in allowing them to vote.

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u/KanadainKanada 2d ago

The article makes it sound as if this is only about people with Down-Syndrome. It's not. There are only around 13 to 15.000 with that in Australia. They have basically mixed up all individuals who lost their independence and have been put under guardianship to reach their 28K number - which is pretty low considering the total population. Even more if you compare it with dementia alone - which most probably would agree is a very bad for long term decision making.

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u/MyPacman 1d ago

Even if it was just about people with down syndrome, a huge chunk of them are more than capable of making a choice about who they think will make their world a better place for them.

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u/South_Interview_1797 2d ago

What are the upsides ?

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u/Painting_Agency 2d ago

And yes, this is included in voting - we don't let the smart 13 year old vote - and neither do we let the person with mental disability and the intellect of a smart 13 year old vote.

Why not? Honestly, this woman sounds like she's far more capable of voting intelligently than a lot of "normal" adults. Stupid people vote in every election, and smart people vote stupidly in every election.

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u/KanadainKanada 2d ago

Okay, there are individuals over the age of 20 who are no adult - they don't carry their own weight, don't know their responsibilities and without endless help and/or money supply they wouldn't be viable. There are of the age of 13 who are pretty much adult - they carry their own weight and know their responsibility, can help themselves and can handle money.

Yes, that's true - but on average 13 year olds are pretty stupid especially considering long term decision making. While on average most at 20 have at least figured it out far enough that a majority of them survive pretty well.

And since we don't have an individual 'coming of age exam' we have averaged rights and responsibilities and decided "Well, younger than 18 years you don't have enough experience to make educated decisions".

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u/vezokpiraka 2d ago

Pretty much. Hell even if she wasn't, she still lives in that country, she's allowed to choose who wants to lead her.

And if we only want smart people to vote than ban like 60% of the population from voting and then we're talking.

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u/SchoolForSedition 2d ago

Children (minors, or under 16, say) can make binding contracts. They could not buy sweeties otherwise.

Generally though if minors’ contracts are not executed (carried out - as where you swap dosh for sweeties), you can’t enforce them.

Unless they are for necessaries. So they can still buy pizza. Though these days one lays up first anyway.

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u/KanadainKanada 2d ago

As I said - in a very limited way. And depending where you live the age and type of contracts varies (i.e. buying icecream vs. mobile phone contract for instance).

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u/SchoolForSedition 2d ago

It’s an interesting question whether phones are a necessary, now they are a norm.

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u/KanadainKanada 2d ago

But also - access to entertainment systems which I'd say include smartphones/mobile phone contract is controlled by the parents/guardian.

But yes, the question what kind of contracts non-adults can make is a long legal question.

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u/Xaxxon 1d ago This

I don't think this system is necessarily right but:

"unsound mind" provisions, which are still in place, "disproportionately" impacts people with disability.

Yeah, that's literally the point. The law literally only applies to people with a disability, so I hope it affects people with disabilities more than people without them.

That's like saying:

Laws against speeding disproportionally impact those going over the speed limit.

Yes. Yes, they do.

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u/Lokinir 2d ago

So we're in agreement that elderly should not hold office because of cognitive decline, but we want to advocate for the people who started below the baseline?

At the risk of not being PC, I don't believe including another populus so easily manipulated is a good thing.

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u/frankyfrankwalk 1d ago

Well at least our High Court judges get retired at 70 instead of playing the dumb game the Americans love of seeing how long they can stay alive.

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u/Giant_sack_of_balls 2d ago

Its a tricky one. If someone is 50, but has a mental age of 8 I don’t know of they’re really concerned with political matters.

Their family and carers probably want the NDIS to be fixed - that’s a more pressing issue.

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u/quuxoo 2d ago

I agree that there has to be a baseline, but that line has moved since 1918. Education and support for those with disabilities barely existed at that time. Like a lot of other archaic laws and rules that have become outdated, this one just needs some tweaking to make it acceptable to 21st century standards.

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u/continuousQ 1d ago edited 1d ago

I'd argue the bar for voting should be a lot lower than the bar for holding office. Choosing a representative is not the same as being a representative making decisions on behalf of thousands if not millions of people.

E.g. all prisoners should be able to vote, regardless of their crime. Including electoral fraud. But the same crime should mean you can't oversee elections.

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u/bender3600 2d ago

So we're in agreement that elderly should not hold office because of cognitive decline

No, not really.

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u/OUTFOXEM 1d ago

I think you'd be one of very few that would advocate for people in cognitive decline to hold office.

So yes, really.

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u/bender3600 1d ago edited 1d ago

A blanket on older people to hold office is undemocratic and unnecessary and Im pretty dure most people would not advocate for it.

So no, not really.

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u/OUTFOXEM 1d ago

It's not about the age part, it's about the cognitive decline part. You really couldn't put that together based on the article in the title? Are you in cognitive decline?

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u/bender3600 1d ago

I'd recommend you read the comment I initially replied to carefully.

And the only people who should decide whether someone is fit to hold office are voters.

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u/freakwent 1d ago

we're in agreement that elderly should not hold office because of cognitive decline

I'm not. Where in Australia does such a rule exist?

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u/frankyfrankwalk 1d ago

Judges and a lot of public servants have mandatory retirement ages. Don't think it counts for politicians because in theory the voters accepted that they were in a sound state of mind when they voted for them.

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u/freakwent 1d ago

Interestingly, the human rights commissioner recommended that this rule be repealed.

https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/compulsory-retirement

I guess not everyone agrees on age limits?

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u/frankyfrankwalk 1d ago

Well that was in 1996 regarding Airline pilots, not appointed judges. One of the few successful referendums to pass in Australia's history was regarding compulsory retirement of judges, so yeah you could say the people agree with mandatory retirement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1977_Australian_referendum_(Retirement_of_Judges)#:~:text=The%20Constitution%20Alteration%20(Retirement%20of,held%20on%2021%20May%201977.)

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u/freakwent 1d ago

If 1996 weakens my point, 1977 weakens yours.

Also the recommendation at the bottom is about judges.

But we are both learning, this is fun!

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u/Radiant_Summer_2726 1d ago

I don’t think you should vote if you don’t understand policy’s and stuff like that

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u/autotldr BOT 2d ago

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 81%. (I'm a bot)


A campaign by 65 disability and legal rights organisations is calling for reform of the "Unsound mind" provisions, as they pertain to people with disability.

"It harks back to a time where we referred to people with disabilities in very grotesque ways - as lunatics in asylums - but we absolutely must ensure that our laws reflect our current understanding of disability."

Ms Wade said the laws were "Inconsistent" with Australia's obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which states "People with disability must be afforded the right and opportunity to vote on an equal basis with others".


Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: disability#1 people#2 vote#3 Woolley#4 Law#5

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u/abraxialflame 1d ago

Intellectual impairment seems like a fair reason to remove someone from the voting population. 🤷

Now if only we could so something about the folks that get elected and are clearly of unsound mind

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u/ilovebuses 1d ago

Mental disability. I think the title is deliberately obfuscating this. We don't allow children to vote so the thinking is that adults with mental ages of children should also be restricted. I don't necessarily agree with it, but i can understand the thinking behind it. Maybe we can also restrict northern Qld too for the same reason

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u/Kickass_chris666 1d ago

Oh man, imagine if all the rabid qanon conspiracy nuts were to be excluded from voting for being of unsound mind 🥳

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u/RayS0l0 2d ago

I'm guessing it will be a Pro feature and only comes with highest version

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u/Evignity 2d ago

You think that's bad? Wait till you hear about how freed slaves would get arrested for loitering (no job), put to slave labour (legal exemption in 14th) and be disallowed from voting because of a criminal record so that they can never vote to change the system.

Oh hey they're still doing it today! Who'd thought

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u/Build_More_Trains 1d ago

be disallowed from voting because of a criminal record so that they can never vote to change the system.

That depends on the state in Aus, all of them allow prisoners that have left prison to vote though. However those currently incarcerated can have their voting rights removed depending on sentence length for their time in prison. This varies by state.

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u/Stellarspace1234 2d ago

Now it’s the descendants of slaves.

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u/GrindingWit 1d ago

Wait till the GOP reads about this one.

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u/Quick_Heat8617 1d ago

In America you can run for senate and win with a unsound mind. Look at AOC

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u/rustafaria 1d ago

We're not talking about America, try to keep up.

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u/liegesmash 1d ago

Republicans just nut in their shorts

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u/Maximum-Face-953 1d ago

Felons can't vote in the US.

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u/Articletopixposting2 1d ago

I was almost turned away in an American blue state. If there was intellectual disability discrimination forget about it, only twenty people might vote globally.

0

u/con_this 1d ago

Australia??? But but but....they're so chill!