By Charles D. Ellison
Convoluted and restrictive voter ID measures got you down?
Still rubbing the migraine you got from voter-suppression laws?
Banging your head against the wall when voter turnout is too low?
Worry no more, fam, we’ve got a magic potion for you: mandatory voting.
No more excuses. No more rich folks across town getting better everything because they had more money to put in a politician’s pocket. No more whining about the cats who took over Congress when you chose binge-watching Netflix over exercising your civic duty. And, most of all, no more out-of-whack overrepresentation of certain population groups because more than 30 states across the nation have kept making your right to vote so damn complicated.
President Obama has opened up a fresh and sorely needed conversation about making your vote required by law.
“It would be transformative if everybody voted—that would counteract money more than anything,” POTUS said while answering town hall questions at the City Club of Cleveland recently, adding that it was the first time he had shared the idea publicly.
“The people who tend not to vote are young, they’re lower income, they’re skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups,” he added.
Florida Republican and all-in GOP presidential primary combatant Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) couldn’t hold back a response. “I don’t put anything past him,” Rubio said on Fox News, pushing the “King Obama” narrative. “Not voting is also a legitimate choice that some people make. That is the choice of living in a free society.”
Mandatory voting, for reference, is not an unusual thing. Twenty-two countries do it, including such significant ones as Australia, Brazil and Singapore. And although critics of compulsory voting are certain to point out the few bad apples such as Egypt and Thailand, it’s still hard to ignore track records of relative stability among most on that list.
At least the Australian model—which includes a small $20 fine for not voting—is something worth emulating. Questions for critics who wave the “free choice” banner remain: How exactly does it hurt anyone? And if voting is the essential pillar of a functional democracy, how exactly is it undemocratic?
Read More Why Not Make Voting Mandatory? – The Root.