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Mandatory Voting, Political Disengagement, and Jury Duty
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OAW
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Mar 24, 2015, 04:08 PM
 
So President Obama made some off-the-cuff remarks regarding a mandatory voting requirement at a recent town-hall meeting. An audience member asked his thoughts on the subject and he essentially indicated that he would be in favor of it. Bear in mind that this is coming on the heels of the 2014 mid-term election which saw a 36.4% voter participation rate ... the lowest in any election cycle since WWII.

Here are my thoughts. I support the idea of a mandatory voting requirement for all eligible voters in principle. The voter participation rate during Presidential elections is pretty bad in general. We are talking about 62% in 2008 and 58% in 2012 respectively. But as I stated above, the voter participation rate during mid-term elections is downright atrocious. 36.4% in 2014 should be viewed as a national embarrassment by the world's leading democracy. Outside of military service in the actual defense of the nation, there can be no greater duty in a democratic society than making one's voice heard in the political process via the ballot box. And arguably, the higher the voter participation rate the more the course of the nation with respect to public policy may reflect the "will of the people". Besides, if we as a society say that a man can be arrested and jailed for 7 days or fined $500 for skipping out on jury duty 11 times because we consider it to be a responsibility of citizenship ... then how can we credibly argue the same is NOT true for voting? Now I know there are those who prefer a lower voter participation rate because it tends to result in victories for their own political party as this particular thread unquestionably illustrates. And others may prefer a higher participation rate for similar reasons. But partisanship aside ... isn't an electorate that reflects all eligible voters better for the nation as a whole regardless of the political spoils? Wouldn't that help to alleviate the cynicism that abounds regarding the state of the political system? Perhaps even diminish the seemingly endless gridlock in Washington that leads to such political disengagement?

That being said, I do have some concerns about a mandatory voting requirement in practice ....

1) Election Day would need to be a national paid holiday IMO. It is simply not fair to fine people for not voting if they are unable to get off work to get to the polls in time. If one is an hourly employee punching a clock ... as opposed to a salaried, professional employee ... then one's access to the polls is often limited by one's ability to get time off work. And while theoretically the employer is required by law to allow it ... in reality that's not always the case. And even when it is very often the employee simply can't afford it.

2) The ballots should be required to have a "None of the above" option. It's one thing to require someone to participate in the electoral process. It's quite another to force them to choose between options that s/he may reject across the board.

3) The current problems with long lines at the polls would need to be addressed. As the recent presidential elections demonstrated (especially in urban areas) ... the lines were downright ridiculous in certain states with an approximately 60% voter participation rate. Imagine what it would have looked like if it was 95%.

So what are your thoughts on the topic? Discuss!

OAW
     
The Final Dakar
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Mar 24, 2015, 04:11 PM
 
I used to be in favor of mandatory voting, but I think the desired result behind it would be better accomplished by streamlining the registration process, extending early-voting, and allowing for same-day registration. I'm in favor of a national voting holiday, as well.

I don't see any logical reasons to oppose those ideas.
     
boy8cookie
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Mar 24, 2015, 05:56 PM
 
No thank you. The voting populous is far too stupid as it is.
     
OAW  (op)
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Mar 24, 2015, 06:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by boy8cookie View Post
No thank you. The voting populous is far too stupid as it is.
Does not the same sentiment apply to Jury Duty? Or the Selective Service? Why require these but not voting given the same stupidity level?

OAW
( Last edited by OAW; Mar 24, 2015 at 06:54 PM. )
     
unicast reversepath
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Mar 24, 2015, 08:46 PM
 
LOL! If only there had been mandatory voting two elections ago, an assclown like obama probably would not have won the first time, and definitely not the second time!
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BLAZE_MkIV
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Mar 24, 2015, 08:50 PM
 
I don't see mandatory voting as a possibility. What I'd like is a none of the above option. Right now it seams like every election is just the lesser of two evils not choosing the better candidate.
     
Snow-i
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Mar 24, 2015, 11:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
Does not the same sentiment apply to Jury Duty? Or the Selective Service? Why require these but not voting given the same stupidity level?

OAW
Because both those processes involve a weed-out/selection process from the pool. All voters would vote.
     
Snow-i
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Mar 24, 2015, 11:25 PM
 
The best way to increase voter turn out is to give people a reason to turn out, instead of the same business-as-usual congress that's been squandering & stealing our collective wealth in the name of bigger government and more corporate cronies in bed. Elections today are closer to American Idol than any semblance of legitimate people's will.

Gerrymandering as it is also disincentives voting, because in those districts....your vote really doesn't count by design of the party in power.
     
el chupacabra
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Mar 25, 2015, 12:34 AM
 
As far as presidential election is concerned the powers that be don't care whether 100% shows up or 10% show up. The idea of controlling a government by checking a box on a paper every 4 years is a gimmick. This isn't participating in your democracy. And the people that don't vote for president definitely dont know anything about picking other politicians. BTW people dont need a holiday. Just give people a week or 2 to vote or do by mail. The people most likely to complain they dont have time to vote can take some time out from smoking weed and drinking to check a box on paper if it makes them feel all powerful and patriotic.
Didn't the soviet union have mandatory voting?

I don't vote for president, but sadly I always seem to know which puppet is going to win. Regardless of who wins it's always the same ol horse crăp. Corporate welfare out of control, social program, military spending, outsourced slave labor, immigration all outa control; and increased dependencies on benefits, stock-market, SS, safety net nonsense. People complaining that if only min/union wage goes up $1 an hour all their problems will be fixed. People complaining about corporate welfare then supporting bailouts so their stock doesn't go down. The situation is hopeless for the masses because of shortsightedness, selfishness, unpreparedness and liveonlyinthemomentness..
     
Waragainstsleep
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Mar 25, 2015, 06:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by el chupacabra View Post
The situation is hopeless for the masses because of shortsightedness, selfishness, unpreparedness and liveonlyinthemomentness.

In both the UK and the US we have had governments in recent years who have made awful decisions to further their own party politics over the good of their nation.

Republicans have spent the last few years trying to shutdown the government so they can blame it on Obama after campaigning the years before that trying to blame him for the mess that Bush made of the economy by de-regulating the financial sector.

Over here during the 90s, Blair & Brown built the sort of welfare state that would really give you guys nightmares where getting knocked-up in order to get a free house or flat became a viable life-plan for girls and anyone prepared to fake a limp could blag a free car on the disability system (with added free and reduced restriction parking to boot!).
Not content with that they decided that everyone should have a college degree but making everyone smart was too hard so they dumbed down the university system so anyone who could manage to follow a bus timetable could get a degree in watching TV or polishing shoes.
The upshot of this was a whole pile of citizens who think that life is incredibly easy and that everything should be free. Being a pop star is preferable to being a doctor or an astronaut, having 10 kids and spending your life gambling your dole money away in betting shops or on scratch cards is a valid choice too. Of course when the money ran out and the freebies get cut back, the recipients get very angry and the government doing the right and necessary thing for the country alienates a whole shit-load of voters, drastically reducing the chance that they will stay in power to finish cleaning up the mess they were left with.

If you watch a commons debate these days our MPs spend more time trying to make each other look dumb than they do discussing how to run the country. Its the party system that is broken IMO.
As a politician, you don't get very far unless you join a party. This means you already tailor your principles to match someone else's. After that its been long forgotten that you are supposed to be there to represent your people, it boils down to being better than the other guy in the eyes of your voters. We are already at the stage where the party in power is planting the seeds of future guaranteed votes.

Independent candidates only and a completely new set of restrictions on what qualifies someone for president/prime minister/cabinet are required. A minimum level of education, relevant skills for certain jobs (teacher for education secretary etc). Should make a huge difference.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
BadKosh
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Mar 25, 2015, 08:13 AM
 
Blame political indoctrination instead of teaching history. Blame the media types who's job WAS to find out and report the truth about possible candidates, and warn us of the problems with them, NOT hide the facts, lie about the details and become cheerleaders. We need to have opinions labeled as such, so the low IQ voters don't think they are watching 'news'. The media is also responsible for the generally more stupid people around these days.
     
The Final Dakar
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Mar 25, 2015, 09:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by unicast reversepath View Post
LOL! If only there had been mandatory voting two elections ago, an assclown like obama probably would not have won the first time, and definitely not the second time!
Considering turnout was some of the highest in recent history for 2008, I completely disagree.
     
The Final Dakar
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Mar 25, 2015, 09:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
What I'd like is a none of the above option.
It'd be interesting to add a clause that if 'none of the above' went ver a certain number, a second election with new candidates was triggered*

*I know that's not feasible, but I think my point is clear – candidates need more than just apathy to cruise into office.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Mar 25, 2015, 12:52 PM
 
Mandatory voting? Hell no. What an absurd thing. The choice to be silent is still protected "speech".
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subego
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Mar 25, 2015, 01:17 PM
 
Do the active PWL jousters vote in every election?

I think I've missed two since I was 18.

This isn't a dick-waving contest. I'm just assuming the people here care more than the average, otherwise we wouldn't be here.
     
The Final Dakar
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Mar 25, 2015, 01:25 PM
 
No, I can't say I do. But I managed to get myself voting in midterms since 2010, which is more than I can say for most of my liberal brethren.
     
BadKosh
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Mar 25, 2015, 01:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'm just assuming the people here care more than the average, otherwise we wouldn't be here.
     
subego
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Mar 25, 2015, 02:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
No, I can't say I do. But I managed to get myself voting in midterms since 2010, which is more than I can say for most of my liberal brethren.
Our mayoral elections coincide with midterms, so we get okay turnout for the midterm primaries, relatively speaking.

Being in ****ing February OTOH, doesn't help.
     
subego
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Mar 25, 2015, 02:21 PM
 
Actually, I have that wrong, so never mind.
     
OAW  (op)
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Mar 25, 2015, 06:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Because both those processes involve a weed-out/selection process from the pool. All voters would vote.
That's a fair point.

OAW
     
OAW  (op)
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Mar 25, 2015, 06:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Do the active PWL jousters vote in every election?

I think I've missed two since I was 18.

This isn't a dick-waving contest. I'm just assuming the people here care more than the average, otherwise we wouldn't be here.
IIRC I haven't missed a single presidential election since I was 18. Perhaps 2-3 midterms at most. And as I live in an unincorporated part of STL County I'm not eligible for local elections at the municipal level. And it's pretty hit or miss for any elections that aren't held on the midterm and presidential ballots.

OAW
     
Snow-i
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Mar 25, 2015, 06:27 PM
 
I missed this most recent election because I moved from Maryland to Denver and missed the deadline for an absentee ballot (looked up the process the day after it was due).

I've never missed a presidential election, though I've only got 3 under my belt @ 28 years old.
     
The Final Dakar
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Mar 26, 2015, 12:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
I missed this most recent election because I moved from Maryland to Denver
Put down the bong and fix your location, scummo
     
osiris
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Mar 26, 2015, 12:37 PM
 
Hell no, no service in this country should be mandatory - voting, jury duty, military, etc....

in fact, I feel that people should be restrained from voting if they're idiots by some measurable degree. But then, who would the politicians pander to?
"Faster, faster! 'Till the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - HST
     
The Final Dakar
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Mar 26, 2015, 12:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by osiris View Post
in fact, I feel that people should be restrained from voting if they're idiots by some measurable degree. But then, who would the politicians pander to?
We're all idiots about something. And selfish about something else. We're all exploitable.
     
osiris
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Mar 26, 2015, 12:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
We're all idiots about something. And selfish about something else. We're all exploitable.
exactly - and we never realize it until it's too late!
"Faster, faster! 'Till the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - HST
     
   
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