Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan brought a motion to the assembly on the issue of compulsory voting on 18 January 2010.
He said the method has had a positive effect on democracy in Australia and consideration should be given to implementing similar rules to elections in the United Kingdom.
Compulsory voting is used in some countries to combat low voter turn-out in elections.
Mr Kinahan said voting in Northern Ireland had reached a new low with the turn-out for last June's European elections, and last week's council by-election in Craigavon, which had a turn-out of around 26%.
He said it was "a total and utter disgrace that we have allowed such a situation to arise".
Most speakers said while they could agree with some of the sentiments put forward by the Ulster Unionist MLA in relation to getting people interested in voting, they would not be supporting the motion.
Sinn Fein abstained, but the motion was supported by the PUP's Dawn Purvis.
The motion fell.