It's kind of crazy that people will accept an army draft in wartime, serving jury duty, and now buying health insurance as government mandates, but the notion of required voting provokes outraged reactions. As it is, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be quick to point out you don't even have a right to vote.
As I have screened PAY 2 PLAY across the country, audience members have been thankful for including solutions that attack the cycle of pay-to-play outlined in our documentary. Most of the fundamental reforms we list in our Fix Six are welcomed without question--except one. Compulsory Voting.
Law students in particular take issue with the idea. As proponents of civil liberties, they'll insist, how can that be fair? The government forcing people to vote is an abomination. I'd think it is a much bigger abomination that only 36% voted in the 2014 midterms, and they are allowed to affect the country so drastically.
In Australia, you have weeks to mail in your ballot, or face a thirty dollar fine if you don't vote. Foreign countries with compulsory voting can still get shameless politicians, but they do not get the same extremes into office that thrive here--those who refuse to work with opposing sides simply because it ensures them support from a reliable turnout of voters.
When a party can only be rewarded for shutting down the government instead of doing the one job they have to do, wouldn't you want the rest of the country to have a say in that?
An added benefit of Compulsory Voting is it's the perfect solution to the unending Republican worries about voter fraud. What better way to halt voter fraud than to keep tabs on each person and their vote? Is that strict enough for you? After all, you want only citizens to vote, right? Because this isn't some anti-democratic canard to subvert the will of the American public by suppressing other citizens with unfair barriers to voting...is it?
No more games over Voter IDs or early voting. No more registering when we should not have to, no more collecting our taxes without each taxpayer having a say in how they are spent. (And yes, you could still write in your own gag candidate of choice, be it Grumpy Cat, Homer Simpson or Lyndon Larouche.)
Today's edition of Activist Comics re-imagines a vintage Superman comic book cover to represent the humongous key to a functioning democracy Compulsory Voting could be.
COMPULSORY VOTING is one of the Fix Six solutions featured in PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy's High Stakes, a new documentary about standing up to money in politics. Out 12/2 on DVD, available now in iTunes, Amazon, Vimeo, and Disinfo.