Julian Omidi, co-founder of civicduty.org discusses the potential benefits of a mandatory voting low.
America’s voter participation is well documented at an all-time low. This means a near majority of the population isn’t expressing their political decision. If voting were to become mandatory by law, thus becoming one’s civic duty, how would America change?
Politicians for the People
Many voters feel that their voice no longer counts in the political process. When the US Supreme Court made their Citizen’s United ruling, the wealthy got a lot more powerful. By ruling campaign funding was an expression of the first amendment, the decision reshaped how campaigns are run.
People feel they have become nearly voiceless to these large Super PACs. By doing so, politicians are more swayed by interests of campaign contributors than the regular voter. And why wouldn’t they? Since voters have stopped going to the polls, politicians have less people to influence.
Mandatory voting would then lessen the influence of Super PACs, and put voting back in the hands of the common man and woman. It would hold politicians more accountable to help the greater good of the people.
Potential to Tackle Systemic Poverty
By making voting a civic duty, social issues could become the meat of a politician’s platform. One of them being poverty. Politicians would have to tailor their platform for the people and not for special interests. They would have more accountability.
There are already several countries that have mandatory voting laws in place. One Dartmouth study found that not forcing people to vote lead to an unequal distribution of income. Meaning, countries that had mandatory or compulsory voting laws had less income inequality.
As you can see, there is some compelling evidence that shows mandatory voting, thus becoming one’s civic duty, could do a lot of good in changing the political landscape. Whether this will ever occur in America is unseen. Something should be done or our political process will continue to have gaps in equality.
Be good to each other,
Julian Omidi is the co-founder of civicduty.org a nonprofit that advocates political participation.