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Today's NY Time's Charles M. Blow Op-Ed column
This column should be required reading! We must all make every effort to revive our democracy. Here are two important steps: 1) Automatic registration upon reaching voting age and 2) mandatory voting (with election day becoming a national holiday). These moves will go further in taking the money out of politics than anything else we may legislate. And once implemented, these actions will significantly reduce the power of the oligarchs and the political parties they so assiduously pay to control.

Automatic registration need be no more complicated than registering for Selective Service (Yes, still required!) or applying for or replacing a Social Security card . And mandatory voting should hardly be more difficult to enforce than is the ACA-required insurance mandate.

Just consider a few of the benefits. An end to costly and time-consuming "get out the vote drives". No more congresses elected by pluralities of a readily manipulated 20% or 25% voter turnout. No more invidious "voter id' laws since states will be require to assure that voters have access to the voting places and sufficient time in which to vote.

Political parties can concentrate on messaging their respective ideologies rather than imploring voters to show up. Voter apathy, now driven to new heights by the failed gerrymandered system now in place, will become a distant memory.

So come on, people. Let's get a movement going to add a real right-to-vote amendment to our constitution. (And to state constitutions as well.)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Mandator voting? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm out.  Freedom to vote is also the freedom not to vote.

    We don't need governmental compulsion.  What would the penalty be?  Fine?  ...really?  Jail time?  

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 10:22:38 AM PDT

    •  They used to have mandatory voting (0+ / 0-)

      in Brazil I believe.   A friend told me that people would just go in there and press a random button and leave.  In fact he said that his mom would always vote for the more handsome candidate.  

      Mandatory voting doesn't lead to better election results.  

  •  We Are In A Rage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnieR, Paragryne

    I guess you haven't noticed, but people all across the USA are in a rage.  We are an angry nation right now, and mostly we are angry at the wrong targets.

    We are angry at foreigners, politicians, and people with the wrong skin color, religion, or sex partner.  Mostly we are angry at each other.

    Which is exactly what the wealthy and corporate interests want: as long as we are fighting each other, we will not be able to muster the will needed to defend ourselves from the wealthy and corporate interests.

    Making voting available to all will help some.  Making elections entirely funded with declared and public funding will help greatly.  Understand who exactly our enemies are will help greatly.  

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 10:45:52 AM PDT

  •  Right - and mandatory voting... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paragryne

    ...will net us millions of people who walk into the voting booth, punch buttons at random (or just push the "party line" button/lever), and walk out.

    I'm all for renewing a sense of voting as one's civic duty, but mandatory voting would be...a farce.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 10:49:25 AM PDT

  •  Many people are in a rage about the state of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paragryne, allenjo

    things.  Those that don't vote aren't necessarily apathetic.  Many feel the system is so corrupted that voting is a waste of time.  Many are working outside the electoral system to try to improve things.  
    The problem with the idea that if everyone just voted everything would get better is, what if all those that don't vote actually did, but it was for the republicans?  So isn't the question, for those wanting people to vote, really wanting more people to vote the "correct" way", i.e., for the democratic party?  
    Either way, no, we can't require people to vote.  That's just not freedom man.  We need freedom more than anything.

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 10:57:57 AM PDT

  •  A better solution would be "Election Week" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrybuck

    Keep the polls open for an entire week. Prohibit exit polls or other mechanisms for interfering with turnout during that week, including posting intermediate counts.

    While we're on it, can we at least go to hand-counted paper ballots? Best protection yet against technological vote-rigging...

    "If you are still playing for Team Republican and want to have any honor whatsoever, you need to leave the Republican Party now, apologize to America, and work to remove it from our political system." - Brad DeLong

    by radabush on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 12:26:23 PM PDT

  •  I have to say I agree with the other commenters (0+ / 0-)

    that mandatory voting is not the solution. But we have plenty of other good ideas, many of which have been implemented in several states: same-day registration, voting by mail, extended voting days, etc. The big issue is to end all limitations and constraints on voting; you can bet there would be people cut out of the process if voting were mandatory without strong and universal voting rights protections.
    All the same:

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    by peregrine kate on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 07:18:11 PM PDT

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