Obama floats ‘transformative’ idea of making it mandatory to vote in the U.S.

Obama floats ‘transformative’ idea of making it mandatory to vote in the U.S.

Barack Obama is six years and counting into his two-term presidency, and he is still talking about fundamentally transforming the United States of America. His latest “transformative” idea? To make voting mandatory in the U.S. (He also allowed as how “it would be ‘fun’ for the U.S. to consider amending the Constitution to change the role that money plays in the electoral system,” but that’s another story for another day.)

While speaking to the City Club of Cleveland Wednesday, Obama said, “If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country,” adding that “universal voting(!) would counteract money more than anything.” At issue, he went on to say, is the “influence those with money have on U.S. elections, where low overall turnout often gives an advantage to the party best able to turn out its base.” Naturally, the 800-pound gorilla Obama had in mind was Citizens United, the Koch brothers, and other enemies of truth, justice, and the American way — not Tom Steyer, George Soros, or other civic-minded citizens who happen to be rolling in money but tilt left.

Obama went on to note that a disproportionate number of Americans who stay home on Election Day are younger, poorer, less educated, and more racially diverse. “There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls,” he observed, adding “it should be easier — not harder— for people to vote.”

It’s hard to see how forcing people to vote under penalty of law makes it “easier — not harder— for” them, but Obama noted this his plan is not without precedent. It seems some two two dozen countries, including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, and Brazil, have some form of compulsory voting. According to a report filed jointly by MSN and the Associated Press:

In many systems, absconders must provide a valid excuse or face a fine, although a few countries have laws on the books that allow for potential imprisonment.

It sounds as if “universal voting” has a lot in common with another of socialistic dream — universal health care, which also comes with  fines and imprisonment for failure to comply.

I’m all in favor of making the vote mandatory as long as making a test of voter knowledge is mandatory as well. Those unable to demonstrate a firm understanding of the issues and candidates would be required to go home and bone up before returning to the vote. Sure, this modest proposal would impose a burden on the hapless citizens of a free country, but it would preclude a large bloc of voters casting their ballots for a man based on such superficial attributes as his appearance or because of a promise of material gain.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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