The House approved and sent a law for the return of compulsory voting, almost 11 years after the entry into force of voluntary suffrage


Almost 11 years after the implementation of automatic registration and voluntary voting, the system will change again. Chamber of Deputies and Deputies approved the Senate amendments to the project that restores the obligation to vote.

The proposal, which was born in the House, was sent to the second degree Senate in June 2021. The changes made to this legislative process were approved today with 124 votes in favour, 6 against and 3 abstentions. With this, the proposal was able to pass to the Executive for its promulgation as law.

The new norm establishes that, in popular votes, the suffrage will be personal, equal and secret. Furthermore, he adds that this will be mandatory for voters in all elections and plebiscites, except primary elections.

The text adds that an organic constitutional law will fix the fines or penalties that will be applied for the violation of this duty. Likewise, also, to the electors who will be exempt from it and to the procedure for their determination.

“More Democracy”

“Democracy is improved with more democracy” was an expression repeated in the debate in the House. The parliamentarians who approved the proposal argued that it seeks to correct the indifference of citizens. This situation has been described as a serious lack of democracy.

They assured that this change will allow for stronger electoral results, with more basis and legitimacy. Furthermore, in his opinion, compulsory voting will make it possible to train more responsible politicians and civil servants. This would close the road to “clientelism with simple and populist ideas”.

In any case, there have been those who have warned that this decision cannot be taken as a political calculation, but rather as a measure to tackle individualism. It has been estimated as a minimum plan from which to build a greater interest and bond with citizenship.

Along with that, they highlighted the need to promote civic education at all levels, as well as punish disinformation and fake news. Likewise, they have called for the creation of a new media law to protect people’s right to information.

opposite positions

Likewise, there were those who did not support constitutional reform. In their arguments it was heard that a healthy democracy is one that forces them to participate because of their ideas and not because of a “straitjacket”.

It was set as a precedent in the debate that the vast majority of countries in the world have a voluntary vote, so Chile would back down and be in a minority.

They ensured that the most important thing to re-incentivise people is the development of a greater civic culture and the eradication of bad practices in politics. With compulsory voting, they delimited, the system would once again be prohibitive and punitive.

The deputies of the RN Ximena Ossandón, Miguel Ángel Becker, Andrés Longton, Andrés Celis, Juan Carlos Beltrán and Eduardo Durán spoke at the session. Together with UDI Cristhian Moreira, Daniel Lilayu, Henry Leal, Marta Bravo, Gastón Von Mühlenbrock, Felipe Donoso and Flor Weisse.

The deputies Raúl Leiva, Daniella Cicardini and Juan Santana also took part in the PS. Also, Francisco Undurraga and Jorge Guzmán, from Evópoli; and from the PDG, Rubén Darío Oyarzo, Víctor Alejandro Pino and Roberto Arroyo.

MEPs Stephan Schubert and Agustín Romero joined the debate from the PREP bench. Similarly, deputies Joanna Pérez (DC), Nathalie Castillo (PC) and Ericka Ñanco (RD) gave their opinion. And the deputies Jaime Mulet (FRVS), Félix González (PEV) and Alejandro Bernales (PL).

Finally, the independent deputies Tomás Lagomarsino, Mauricio Ojeda, Jaime Araya, Leonidas Romero, Andrés Jouannet, Miguel Ángel Calisto, Hotuiti Teao, Felipe Camaño, Hernán Palma, Johannes Kaiser, Christian Matheson, Natalia Romero, René Alinco gave their vision. , Francisco Pulgar and Fernando Borquez.

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