“Other countries have mandatory voting,” Obama said this week. “It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything.” Voting is a privilege few enjoy in America–not because they don’t have the right, but because they don’t exercise it. In the 2014 midterm elections that sent a Republican-dominated congress to Washington, less than 37% of eligible voters voted. That result certainly got Mr. Obama thinking.
Mandatory voting would probably not stir quite the controversy that mandatory healthcare coverage has, though requiring Americans to do anything will incense a certain faction of the public. Mandatory voting is a paradox–because a citizen’s freedoms are protected by laws enacted by the government, and yet one of those freedoms is the right not to participate. Australia and more than 20 other countries have mandatory voting.