Friday, March 20, 2015

Could mandatory voting even work in the US?

There’s a lot of scuttlebutt over President Obama’s raising the issue of mandatory voting laws, mentioning Australia, as in the USA Today story by David Jackson here.  Obama’s idea, besides electing Democrats, seems to be reducing the effects of corporate campaign contributions, now protected by the Supreme Court.

It’s hard to see how the fines could be enforced, given the weakness of registration in some poorer communities (especially minority).  There is still the idea that registration is week unless volunteers get active (which Obama’s campaign found out in 2008 and 2012).  There are some who say the Supreme Court’s ruling last year on state voting laws still needs and antidote. 

But a more interesting question concerns getting people to work 16 hour days as election judges.  The pay is horrible, and you get up at 4 AM.  Most of the workers are “retired”.  There’s even talk of making it a duty comparable to jury duty.  Why not train and pay them adequately?  I’ve done it three times. 

While we’re at it, what about voting rights and representation for those who live in the little federal colony of the District of Columbia? 

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