Obama moots mandatory voting




The media is truly the virtual fourth ring of government along with judicial, legislative, and executive.
As long as you can own the media you own the narrative, not just with the news but with the narrative and givens in entertainment.
(edit)As long as a few people get to own the input used to choose votes mandatory voting will still be a hollow democracy informed mostly by those who can own media or who can fund a candidate.


I’m not convinced that this is a good idea. Doesn’t more votes from the people who didn’t want to put in the small effort to do that mean more essentially arbitrary votes with no thought behind them, and therefore more likely to be influenced by ad campaigns and publicity stunts?


What a terrible argument that the perfect candidate isn’t voted into office with mandatory voting. Obama was only speaking conceptually anyways. But Oregon’s recent change to automatically registering anyone who has recently used the DMV system is fantastic and shouldn’t be questioned regardless who the voters actually choose.


Maybe you would be more convinced if you were black and half your country’s politicians were actively finding ways to suppress the information needed for you to vote.


Since Obama mentioned it, at least 50% of the population is already against it.


I’m of two minds about mandatory voting:

  1. If implemented correctly, it could make voter suppression more difficult(if not, it could simply allow you to voter-suppress one year, and then announce that Sheriff Bubba’s posse just might be conducting random inspections of polling places in ‘civic noncompliance hotspots’(totally statistical and mathematical and stuff, not racially determined!) looking for people with outstanding nonvoting violations). Making voter suppression harder would be a good thing.

  2. As mattdm notes, once you get past the people who are being suppressed from voting, you have the people who don’t really give a damn, who seem quite likely to be noise, at best.

Perhaps more theoretically, low voter turnout is arguably an indicator of dissatisfaction, although a diffuse one. Making it mandatory is an easy way to juice the numbers and make it look like the candidate who wins isn’t, in fact, the least-bad option that a surprisingly small slice of the potential voting population managed to suppress their gag reflex long enough to vote for; but is instead The Will Of The Majority; but it doesn’t do much to address the underlying(often very plausible) feelings of being so well represented that voting won’t lead to increased representation. It provides ‘legitimacy’ to representative democracies in sort of the same way that ‘getting 99% of the vote’ provides ‘legitimacy’ to one-party autocracies.


Maybe you would be more convinced if you were black and half your country’s politicians were actively finding ways to suppress the information needed for you to vote.

Are you saying that mandatory voting laws would help that? How?


For many low-income people I don’t think the problem is not wanting to vote. The problem is not being able to vote. They can’t get the time off from work, and even if they can getting to the polls isn’t necessarily easy. I live in a city where public transportation is a joke even though many people depend on it. The early voting polling place in my district is a church that’s several miles away from any bus stop. It used to be the closest branch of the public library. I don’t know why that changed.

The photo ID requirement makes it even more difficult. The only place to get a photo ID is the DMV. And clearly someone reasoned that since only those with cars must have a need to go to the DMV there’s no need to make it easily accessible to those who depend on public transportation.

I’m not convinced mandatory voting is a good idea, but the biggest potential benefit I see is that it would require states to make it easier for people to vote.


Even without mandatory voting the day of the vote is a national holiday and for most a day off in many countries. I think the US is pretty unique in the automobile operator’s license over time becoming a state issued national ID.


Tax incentives. That’s the conservative answer, give people tax incentives to vote.

Drop them one tax bracket, or pay everyone 200 bucks, for voting.

You don’t -have- to vote, you can stay in your tax bracket, or not take the 200 bucks.

(combine with realistic voting hours/accessibility)


Everyone should participate in the electoral process?

What a [socialist, communist, fascist, Muslim, evil, satanic] idea!


When the congress and the government’s core is already corrupted by moneyed interests the voting method (compulsory or not) becomes irrelevant.


KockBrosTeaBaggers are the perfect example of how the GOP promotes ignorance as a virtue. That is how they produce a coalition of religious zealots and the economically illiterate. This helps them to achieve their objectives [by the way] of getting Americans to vote against their own interests. Which further widens the gap between rich and poor.

Not for a second should you believe that the Oligarchy will allow this “Mandatory Voting” thingy to happen, they just can’t afford that kind of freedom.


I was going to make a similar point: Paying people to vote is functionally the same as fining people who do not vote but plays much better with the average (non-) voter.


I think they should subvert the fine American tradition of “No Taxation without Representation”. If you’re not allowed to vote then you shouldn’t have to pay tax. Or maybe just revert all the 20th century reforms and make it so only white, male land owners can vote, but make it mandatory just for them.


I’m not convinced mandatory voting is a good idea, but the biggest
potential benefit I see is that it would require states to make it easier for people to vote.

I agree — so why not make that mandatory? Is it just that it would be politically easier to get mandatory voting passed, and then the states would presumably have to shape up?


Remember this isn’t something the President can do with a wave of his pen; in fact, even if the Congress was able to actually pass laws, they probably can’t make a change like this because voting is governed by state law. Congress could pony up some money to make it easier, but as we’ve seen recently, some politicians will reject free money if it makes their opponents look good.


One way to encourage a lot more voluntary voting is to uncouple the voter registration rolls from the selection pool for jury duty. You might be surprised to find out how many people in your location don’t register because they can’t afford two weeks unpaid leave to listen to lawyers.


You can’t make voting mandatory in todays America. Religious freedom and all that crap.