Would Mandatory Voting Change Anything?
The idea of mandatory, obligatory, compulsory voting, when people are required to vote or face hefty fines or other punishment, sounds crazy in our free society, but it's actually the law in some countries, and now, President Obama is speaking out in support of mandatory voting!
President Obama was asked about the negative effect on money on U.S. elections, and while answering, segued into a discussion of voting rights. He then pointed to the example of Australia, where voting is mandatory, and said, "If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country." He called compulsory voting potentially transformative, and said it would do more than anything else to counter the corrosive effect on money in elections.
At least two dozen countries have some form of mandatory, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil and Argentina. In many of them, people who don't vote have to pay a fine, unless there is a really good excuse. What do you think of the idea of mandatory voting? Do you think there's a different mindset towards voting when it's seen as a legal duty instead of a right?