Obama Endorses Mandatory Voting

By David Knowles, Bloomberg

At a town hall meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, Wednesday, President Obama discussed the idea of mandatory voting, and said “that may end up being a better strategy in the short term” in helping to diminish the influence that money has on politics in the post-Citizens United era.

“It would be transformative if everybody voted,” Obama said during the event. “That would counteract [campaign] money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country.”

Compulsory voting is the official law of the land in 22 countries, though only 11 actively enforce penalties to citizens who do not. A woeful percentage of Americans who are eligible to vote, actually do so—just 36.4 percent did during the 2014 midterms, the lowest number since World War II.

“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, who had never publicly commented on the subject, said. “And they’re the folks who are scratching and climbing to get into the middle class and they’re working hard. There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls. We should want to get them into the polls.”

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