Poll: Should voting be mandatory?

Today on The Daily Circuit, we’ll hear from Temple University law professor Jan Ting, who wrote in a recent op-ed that voters in the United States should be required to vote.

What do you think?

-Tom Weber, Daily Circuit

  • George

    Cannot legislate core values if voters don’t act you get the Woody Allen effect: the world is run by those who show up

  • BJ

    I think they should be required to check in to polling location, but then they can just leave if they want.

  • Kevin

    Mandatory voting would be acceptable IF there were an option for “none of the above”.

  • Carmen Dahlberg

    You have it all backwards. The government should pay people for going to the polls. Just think how long those lines would be if each voter got a $20 bill along with their voting sticker!

  • Mike M

    Ya that’s what we want, to force every uninformed and indifferent person to vote. Moronic! Do they have to vote for every item on the ballot? I don’t vote on those items, on which I’m ignorant.

  • Jordan

    This should not even be a question. The more things that we “require” the less liberty we have. Remember that the government is there to serve us and not us to serve the government. If voting becomes mandatory it would be an insult to the country that we have fought so hard to build.

  • Jefferson

    There is no need to make voting mandatory…I do believe that the day should be a national holiday in order to allow people the time to vote. The last thing we need is to force people who are uninformed and have no knowledge of the issues to cast a vote based on looks or what celebrities tell them.

  • Dave69

    Voting should be mandatory. SSN’s can be used for voting registrations. One SSN = one vote. Better tracking, and if voting was required, small fines could be attached to tax rolls. No cards required. Then voting could be done online, too. Why not?

  • MN Mom

    Your last guest was ridiculous

    One – his assertion that Republicans are discouraging voters is a flat out lie. We all, democrats and republicants want fair elections. I often vote Republican and I am offended by this assult on my integrity.

    Second – he wants to mandate voting saying it is not much to ask since health insurance is mandated and the government mandates other things so he says “mandatory voting is not too big of an imposition”.

    But showing a photo id he would say, is asking too much! To much of an imposition? How very inconsistent! Where is the logic in this? We can make it easy for people to get a photo id and ensure fair elections.

  • Jeffrey

    We should have mandatory voting, as other civic duties are mandated. It will clearly eliminate all the complaining by people who do not vote, and make those running for public office more accountable to the entire electorate.

  • Jean

    I think if we were to make voting mandatory, we would have to create a national holiday or move voting to the weekend. Also, make public transportation free of charge on voting day, so everyone, especially those who can’t afford it, can get to the polls.

  • J. Martin

    I’d like to take issue with the comparison to other countries, and Australia in particular. Two points:

    1. Australia uses the Westminster system. Individuals vote for local representatives, and the majority party, or majority coalition selects the prime minister. The involvement demanded of individuals is therefore LOCAL involvement. In a system in which the head of state is directly elected (questions of the electoral college aside), the requirement would be for NATIONAL involvement. On those grounds, I find specious the supposition that mandatory voting would ease sharpening partisanship. Rather, the indifferent center would be forced to engage with a poisonously partisan environment, and the more likely scenario would be that the center would be divided.

    2. When I lived in Australia in the 1990s, they struggled with what was called the “donkey vote,” where those who didn’t want to vote, but were required to, would simply vote for the first name on the ballot (or rank them 1, 2, 3, etc. straight down the page). This possibility is especially troubling when private enterprises, such as Diebold, control the voting systems. It would empower those in charge of designing the voter interface to prejudice the vote by capturing the votes of the indifferent.

  • Chad

    This is a completely misguided idea. Part of the justification is to encourage moderates to vote, but the real result would be to annoy them.

    Just getting moderates to the polls would not lead to more moderate candidates on the ballot. What is needed is a different system for selection of party candidates–like open primaries coupled with more widespread media attention. Moderates need to be included in the process of selecting candidates they like, not just being compelled to pick what they view as the best of two bad options. (I think this is a bigger issue for legislative races, where most people probably couldn’t name a single candidate who didn’t make it to the general election ballot–the party faithful are fully in charge of the options in these races.)

    As far as voter suppression, this concept won’t help…if we don’t have the political will to end it, then we certainly don’t have the political will to enact mandatory voting.

  • Lars

    Voter Ignorance is the Biggest Problem

    MN law lets party affiliation and “incumbant” be printed below the candidate’s name. This requirement only benefits entrenched political interests, and should be reversed.

    Voter ignorance is the biggest problem. A way to neutralize the effect of voter ignorance is to just list the candidate’s name without party or incumbancy indicators. Then, voters voting out of ignorance will cancel out (as in a random draw) and leave informed votes to indicate which candidate wins.

  • Alana

    YES!! This needs to happen. I think there should be a holiday or more days for people to vote to reduce lines/time it takes to vote. No more excuses people, it is embarrassing how empathetic people are in this country when I hear about voter turn out in other democratic countries….

  • Craig Huber

    I do believe that voting is a duty of a citizen of a democracy. That said, mandatory voting is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion. Realistic enforcement would be ridiculously expensive, and the results would be at best chaotic, at worst detrimental.

    Making Election Day a national holiday is something I would like to see. Beyond that, however, any form of official enticement, positive or negative, is both inappropriate and far too likely to be ineffective.

    If we do not collectively care enough about our representative democracy to perform the minimal effort required to support and inform it (i.e. voting with knowledge and intent every couple of years), we deserve the consequences (and eventual loss of it) that will entail.

  • Aaron

    How about having mandatory primary voting instead so these extreme left/right candidates don’t make it past the first round? Primaries seem a bit like a joke at the moment but they also create some of the most partisan politicians out there.

  • lily

    It’s not unreasonable— jury duty is a required civic duty, and voting should be as well. In Australia, where voting is mandatory, you don’t actually have to vote; you can fill in a box for “none of the above”, but you do have to show up. Again, just like jury duty. And as was discussed earlier tonight on NPR, it would be a good thing because politicians wouldn’t have to appeal to the radical side of their base to ensure turnout, since everyone is already turning out. They would actually have to appeal to the middle, as has happened in Australia.

  • Andrew

    I can understand that on first glance it almost seems authoritarian to have compulsory voting, but when you think about our civic duties in America, voting is just about the only one that ISN’T mandatory. The Census Bureau can impose fines for not responding to the Census, you can certainly be penalized for tax evasion, and how many young men during the Vietnam War had left the country to avoid compulsory military service? In light of these mandatory civic duties, it’s kind of strange that simply asking one’s anonymous opinion about who should lead should be left to choice. Why not conduct elections like the census? Why such a big difference between the two kinds of information being collected?