What If We Had to Vote?
We’re back from Spring Break and my students have sent me a new batch of politics related stories that have caught their attention.
President Obama’s suggestion that it might be time to consider madatory voting showed up in several students’ submissions. The president said that making voting mandatory as it is in Australia, Belgium, and other democracies could be “transformative.”
An article in The Fix argued that mandatory voting might have changed the results in a number of states in the 2012 presidential election.
On the other hand, a Monkey Blog post held that mandatory voting would have little impact on electoral outcomes for a variety of reasons.
While mandatory voting ceteris paribus might not change the outcomes of many elections, it almost certainly would change campaign strategies and tactics, and other aspects of electoral politics.
More controversial is whether mandatory voting would be an oppressive violation of citizens’ freedom. Other responsibilities of citizenship are mandatory (paying taxes, jury duty, etc.). Why not voting?