Voter turnout has been on a steady decline since 1964, and according to the U.S. Election Project, the 2014 turnout was at a mere 36.6 percent. Although President Barack Obama didn’t directly propose the idea of mandatory voting, he did show support for a compulsory voting system.
“In Australia and some other countries there’s mandatory voting,” said Obama during a town-hall meeting in Cleveland. “It would be transformative if everybody voted. That would counteract money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map of this country.”
In the United States, we citizens have the right to vote, but not the obligation.
We are lucky to live in a democracy, and we are fortunate to have the right to choose the leaders of our country. However, there are times when people don’t support either candidate, yet if there is a mandatory voting law similar to Australia, people would be fined for not voting.
The United States is no longer a free country if citizens are forced to choose between two candidates they don’t support.
“Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil,” said Jerry Garcia, the musician most well-known from the band Grateful Dead.
Most people believe Obama is proposing this idea because he truly cares about democracy, and wants to see this country thrive. The reality is Obama is proposing this idea because he is trying to set up his political party for success.
David Ziblatt, a political science professor at Sonoma State said, “Current research on voting turnout tells us that higher turnout benefits democrats. So liberals would favor compulsory voting.”
It’s obvious why a liberal president would be the first to come out in support of compulsory voting, because the current research shows that his party would benefit more, thus improving the chances of a democrat being elected.
Another issue is the people who normally don’t vote, are usually less informed on political campaigns. Less informed voters are more likely to cast a vote at random or be persuaded by campaign advertisements.
When Obama said this would counteract money, he was wrong. A good chunk of campaign money goes to advertising.
With mandatory voting, there would be a whole new market of voters that politicians will target with their advertisements. Do you really want uninformed voters deciding an election based on the propaganda they see on television, or read in the paper?
Personally I don’t vote, because by not casting my ballot, I am protesting the political institution that I have lost faith in. I don’t support republicans or democrats, so whom do I vote for?
There is the Green Party, and the Libertarian Party, but in reality those candidates never stand a chance of winning because they don’t receive nearly as much in campaign money as do republicans or democrats.
So, my choice is not to vote. This is my idea of a protest, and every year more Americans like myself make the decision not to vote.
The answer to improving voter turnout isn’t forcing people to vote, but improving our election process. People need a reason to vote, not an obligation.
The only effective way to improve voter turnout is to have candidates that inspire the country, and show the voters they are politicians because they care about improving the lives of all Americans.
Until there is a candidate who puts his party’s interests aside, and focuses on what the American people truly want, there is no reason for me to vote.
Even if there were a fine for not voting, I would rather pay that fine than vote a candidate into office I don’t fully support.
The idea of mandatory voting is absurd. There are far too many Americans like myself who have an active interest in the political system, but still refuse to vote. This is a right that all Americans have, and that is what make the United States a free country.