By Corey Zoubkov ’16
Money plays a big role in politics. President Obama said that those with this money drive younger people away from voting to aid their agendas. He proposed compulsory voting as a way to bring them back.
Jose A. DelReal reported in the Washington Post article “Voter turnout in 2014 was the lowest since WWII” that in the 2014 elections, the voter turnout was only 36.4%. Obama hopes to see that change.
Mandatory voting is not something the United States should be exposed to. The ability to vote is one of the great things this country has to offer, and the choice to do so comes with that.
Voting is a right. Rights exist to provide citizens freedom. They are there if you ever need them, and they shouldn›t be taken away.
Apathy isn’t the only reason not to vote. Some people are against voting for what they see as the lesser of two evils, and supporting what they’re doing. In a free country, opinions like this should be accepted.
Not voting is also a form of free speech protected by the first amendment. It could be a way to protest the candidates, or the way the government goes about elections.
Forcing people to partake opens the door for arbitrary votes. This gives an inaccurate reading of what the people want. Those who truthfully don›t care will show up just to get it over with. With random votes going in random directions, the election could be swayed, which would affect everyone.
Mandatory voting is successful in raising the voting rates, as shown in the case of Australia. Dr. Lisa Hill and Jonathon Louth of the University of Adelaide reported in “Compulsory Voting Laws and Turnout: Efficacy and Appropriateness” that before compulsory voting began in 1924, the average turnout was 58.67%. When the policy was finally set in motion, voter turnout skyrocketed to 91.35%.
Compulsory voting clearly gets people to the booths. However, that doesn’t guarantee that the voters will be making an honest choice on the ballot, and thus the vote could misrepresent what the people want.
In June 2006, the UK Electoral Commission research report “Compulsory voting around the world» stated that past research suggests non-voters support mandatory voting as long as a none of the above option is given.
Supporters of mandatory voting might offer a none of the above choice for those who don›t want to participate. Nevertheless, this is still turning a right citizens have into a chore, especially if they are only going to say that they don›t want to vote for any of the candidates that are running. Compulsory voting forces them to go do something which will have no effect.
There’s no question that everyone should keep up to date and should vote. That clearly won›t happen, but mandatory voting isn›t the right approach to making happen either.