MANDATORY VOTING: A Bad Idea; an Un-American Idea

Several days ago, Obama suggested that America should adopt a policy of mandatory voting, i.e. everyone who is eligible to vote would be required to vote (as is the case in some countries). He claims it would help produce higher turnout at the polls. However, he placed emphasis on those who were young, lower-class, and immigrants (the groups that the Democrats frequently cater to). It’s also likely he conceived the idea due to the Republican takeover of Congress back in November. Therefore, higher turnout resulting from mandatory voting (especially among the groups he mentioned) would result in Democrats dominating the elections.

Ironically, in some of the past elections, many conservatives did not vote because doing so would mean either voting for a liberal or a RINO. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration (via its amnesty plan) would assist immigrants (i.e. the immigrants here illegally) in registering to vote.

Obama stated that voting is mandatory in Australia, which is just one of a handful of countries (estimates range from twenty-two to thirty) and a couple of provinces that have such a law. However, in over half of these countries, the law is not enforced. As for the nations that do enforce it, the penalty for not voting is paying a fine (although in some nations, e.g. North Korea, the penalty can be more severe).

Although voting might be viewed by some as a civic duty, there is no law anywhere in America that requires people to vote. Keep in mind that the elections (whether they be federal, state, or local) are overseen by state and local officials in each state. So does Obama plan on having the federal government take over the election process, like he has done with healthcare, education, and the internet? Or is he compelling his fellow Democrats in each state to push for mandatory voting? And what about those individuals who are not even registered to vote? Would they also be subject to fines or other penalties if they do not register?

It should be noted that just because voting might be considered a civic duty, that does not make it a legal obligation. Voting is a civic duty because it is considered a patriotic thing to do. And voting is also considered a right, hence it is both a duty and a right. If someone decides not to vote, than that is his or her choice. The same scenario if he or she chooses to vote. Either way, they are exercising their right to vote (or not to vote).

Obama backed off advocating the idea of mandatory voting after a negative backlash, but that doesn’t mean he (or someone else) will not try to push the idea at some later date. In fact, he might have already planted a seed by bringing it up in the first place.

Image: http://www.stubbornmule.net/2008/11/to-vote-or-not/

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About the author: Andrew Linn

Andrew Linn is a member of the Owensboro Tea Party and a former Field Representative for the Media Research Center. An ex-Democrat, he became a Republican one week after the 2008 Presidential Election. He has an M.A. in history from the University of Louisville, where he became a member of the Phi Alpha Theta historical honors society. He has also contributed to examiner.com and Right Impulse Media.

View all articles by Andrew Linn

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