22 Mar 2015 05:17 PM EST
-by Drew Kolar, Editor; Image: A New York City “Vote Here” sign (Image Source: Drew Kolar)
This week, President Barack Obama mentioned the idea of mandatory voting—which in turn brought about a national debate on the issue.
“It would be transformative if everybody voted,” the president explained. “That would counteract money more than anything.”
“The people who tend not to vote are young, they’re lower income, they’re skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups,” Obama said. “There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls.”
It is true that young Americans, lower-income and minority groups often have the lowest turnout rates during election days. But would forcing all U.S. citizens to vote actually work?
Well, in a sense, no—especially with the Republicans of this nation adamantly opposing anything Obama says, even if it may be a good idea. Mandatory voting would definitely change the face of our government as we know it, especially with more of a progressive, younger crowd having to hit the polls, but the opposition in our country’s current state is unfortunately too strong.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was one of the first to jump at the chance to criticize the idea.
“I don't put anything past him. I mean, there are a lot of things that have already happened that I never thought I would see,” he told Fox News.
Democrats, however, seem to be in support of the idea—or rather, in support of Obama voicing his opinion while noting that it isn’t necessarily a proposition for a policy change. White House press secretary Josh Earnest noted, “The president was not making a specific policy prescription for the United States.”
“I think the overall conversation was purely about giving power back to the people,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) told The Hill. “The president is not saying mandatory voting for Democrats. He’s suggesting that all people should be encouraged to vote, whatever their views may be.”
Mandatory voting does seem to work for some countries, like Australia. Australia is one of a few dozen countries with compulsory voting laws that punish offenders with fines of around $15 to potential jail time or disenfranchisement, according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).
Unfortunately, in the U.S., Americans do not like being told what to do—just look at the controversy Obamacare already caused. Of course this time around, Obama was simply putting the idea out there, so the backlash from his comment is mostly uncalled for. The GOP will find just about any excuse to criticize the president these days, and this is just one more for the books.
All that said, perhaps one day in the future the U.S. will institute some form of mandatory voting with stipulations that can be agreed upon by both parties. Jail time would be too drastic of a penalty, but an extra fine, perhaps during tax season, could be imposed to those who do not turn up to vote. Obama’s idea is a good one, but there will definitely be quite a bit of discussion before it could ever be a reality.
- by Jorge Vargas, Editor Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a powerful speech to Congress on Tuesday. He provided his argument for how negotiations should be handled with Iran. To paraphrase, the Israeli leader is of the opinion that Iran should give up every nuclear pretension (peaceful and otherwise) in return for nothing. He threw in some language... Read more
The 'Saturday Night Live' ISIS Skit Was Not Offensive
-by Drew Kolar, Editor; Image: Dakota Johnson in the SNL “Father Daughter Ad” ISIS sketch from Saturday (Image Source: NBC) Some Saturday Night Live viewers are in an uproar after the long-running sketch comedy show aired a piece poking fun at ISIS, the extremist Islamist rebel group who have been wreaking havoc across the Middle East and recently... Read more
Remember when Giuliani wasn't Crazy?
- by Jorge Vargas, Editor I'm a New Yorker. Have been since I was a child. Spent almost my entire life in New York. And I was in New York on 9/11/2001. So I have a lot of respect for Rudolph Giuliani. Bloomberg may have built all the buildings imaginable for his super rich friends, and De Blasio gets a lot of credit for providing New Yorkers... Read more
Makeup-Free Monday: Demi Lovato Goes Au Naturale to Show Her ‘Beauty and Confidence’
Makeup-Free Monday: Demi Lovato Goes Au Naturale to Show her ‘Beauty and Confidence’ Demi Lovato started a new social media trend for the ladies, and we're absolutely loving it! The 21-year-old singer took to Instagram last week to share a photo of her (flawless) skin without a hint of makeup on, going au naturale to show her fans and followers... Read more
The Dichotomy between Blue and Black
- by Jorge Vargas, Editor; Image: Officers Wenjian Liu (left) and Rafael Ramos (right) (Image source: NYPD) As a heads up, you should know that the dichotomy is a false one. There is now a competitor to #blacklivesmatter, and that competitor is #bluelivesmatter. The latter emerged following the execution of two police officers in Brooklyn on Saturday. Officers... Read more
NFL Draft Throwback: Aaron Rodgers Entered League With Chip on His ShoulderMore
NFL Draft: How Much Do Pro Days Matter?More