President Obama, whose party was trounced in last year’s midterm election due to poor turnout among Democrats, endorsed the idea of mandatory voting Wednesday.
“It would be transformative if everybody voted,” Mr. Obama said during a town-hall event in Cleveland. “That would counteract [campaign] money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country.”
Mr. Obama raised the subject during a discussion of curbing the influence of campaign donations in U.S. elections. The president said he had never discussed the idea publicly before, but said Australia and some other countries have compulsory voting.
The president didn’t commit to pushing a mandatory voting initiative at the federal level but said, “that may end up being a better strategy in the short term” than finding a solution to curbing campaign donations.
Australia is one of 11 nations worldwide with mandatory voting. Australians who fail to vote can be fined, or even jailed for repeatedly not casting a ballot.
The president repeated his frequent complaint that Democrats tend to stay home in midterm elections. Last November, Republicans regained control of the Senate and added seats to their majority in the House despite Mr. Obama’s massive fundraising efforts for his party.
“The people who tend not to vote are young, they’re lower income, they’re skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups,” Mr. Obama said. “And they’re the folks who are scratching and climbing to get into the middle class and they’re working hard. There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls. We should want to get them into the polls.”
Doesn’t it just so figure that he’d come up with this idea now that he’s imported thousands of new dem voters? This also answers the question about why he’s so hell-bent on giving amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
Who gets to be in charge of making sure that every citizen votes? The IRS, who can’t even cull out fraudulent tax returns or Social Security that’s still paying people that are 112 years old?
Perhaps the folks in charge of O’care could set up the database for it and we could put Hillary in charge of it since we now know she’s adept at setting up secure servers.
This is ironic coming from an administration that jumped through hoops to see to it that our overseas troops didn’t get to vote.
Australian officials thought this would eliminate voter apathy, but it doesn’t. Instead it forces uninvolved citizens to the polls. Following are some of their pros and cons on compulsory voting:
Arguments used in favor of compulsory voting:
- Voting is a civic duty comparable to other duties citizens perform (e.g. taxation, compulsory education, or jury duty).
- Parliament reflects more accurately the “will of the electorate.”
- Governments must consider the total electorate in policy formulation and management.
- Candidates can concentrate their campaigning energies on issues rather than encouraging voters to attend the poll.
- The voter isn’t actually compelled to vote for anyone because voting is by secret ballot.
Arguments used against compulsory voting:
- Some suggest that it is undemocratic to force people to vote and is an infringement of liberty.
- The “ignorant” and those with little interest in politics are forced to the polls.
- It may increase the number of “donkey votes” (votes for a random candidate by people who feel that they are required to vote by law).
- It may increase the number of informal votes (ballot papers which are not marked according to the rules for voting).
- It increases the number of safe, single-member electorates – political parties then concentrate on the more marginal electorates.
- Resources must be allocated to determine whether those who failed to vote have “valid and sufficient” reasons.
Here in the US, on a voluntary basis, people cast votes without knowing a thing about the candidates or the issues on the ballot. Adding more uneducated voters to that doesn’t accurately reflect what the educated voters want, it muddies the waters instead.
I think the cons outweigh the pros in this case, especially when you consider who’s pushing this and how he’s stacked the voter pool.