This first article was written by Nicholas Stephanopoulos in his efforts to address the voting crisis in America. Though more and more people become eligible to vote every year our voter turnout is the lowest it’s been in over 70 years. The average polls only receive 36% of eligible voters, thus there are many Americans that could vote and are even registered to vote but don’t show up on the election day. He claims this issue can be easily fixed with the implementation of policies. These policies wouldn’t be meant to villainize voters because no one would be thrown in jail or forced to go to the polls, they’d only have to pay a small fine of no more than $20 for not voting. This is called compulsory or mandatory voting. To streamline this process anyone who applies for a driver’s license would be automatically registered to vote. If we expanded voting time and moved Election Day to Saturdays we could capture the hard workers and marginalized communities that don’t often have access to vote. He acknowledges that there are hurdles to this plan since low voter turnout greatly favors republicans and thus the GOP would be hesitant to enact compulsory voting. Overall, he claims Compulsory voting could save democracy by letting all people have the opportunity to vote not just the privileged and thus our government would actually be able to serve the people and not just the thirty percent.
Brian Solari believes mandatory voting would put our democracy in jeopardy, though he conceded that there are problems with our current system. The United States is one of the modern democracies with the lowest voter turnout per election, our highest turnouts averaging little more than 50% of the population. Most of the population that votes is from a higher socio-political status which inherently makes for inequality in the elections. In theory, mandatory voting would reduce this inequality but Solari argues that it would be an injustice to our democratic system to do so. He claims this inequality is beneficial because it allows the most educated and well off individuals to make important decisions. Another con is that mandatory voting would greatly increase spending due to the sheer numbers of registrations, ballots printed, and people rushing to polls on election day. Because more people would rush to the polls the author argues that mandatory voting would not eradicate political competition but rather increase it causing even more money to be spent on voting. Also, compulsory voting would force politically uneducated, unwilling people to go to the polls to make a choice for President. This would water down democracy and ultimately make the vote less powerful resulting in weakness of our government. Although Solari points out the potential cost of compulsory voting the benefits far outweigh them because a diverse vote would result in a stronger democracy with political leaders that would make changes for all of America since they are represented by an actual majority.
- Brian Solari agrees that there are problems in our democracy but believes we should take a different approach.
- On the other side, Brian Solari recognizes similar problems but claims mandatory voting would create more disastrous effects.
- However, Brian Solari believes mandatory voting would put our democracy in jeopardy though he conceded that there are problems with our current system.
- Although Solari sees cons with compulsory voting the fact of the matter is our system is broken and we must try to fix it.
- Although Solari argues that it is better for the American people if only the elite vote the fact of the matter is that we have a democracy which means all people are entitled to their right to vote.
- Although Solari points out the potential cost of compulsory voting the benefits far outweigh them because a diverse vote would result in a stronger democracy with political leaders that would make changes for all of America since they are represented by an actual majority.
- Stephanopoulos, Nicholas. “Compulsory Voting in the United States Isn’t as Unrealistic as It Sounds.” Gale Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2019. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/VVCGJD734569474/OVIC?u=onlinelibrary&sid=OVIC&xid=9b3ac319. Accessed 24 Oct. 2019
- Originally published as “A Feasible Roadmap to Compulsory Voting,” The Atlantic, 2 Nov. 2015. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/a-feasible-roadmap-to-compulsory-voting/413422/
- Solari, Bryan. “Mandatory Voting Undermines Voting Rights.” Voting Rights, edited by Tom Lansford, Greenhaven Press, 2008. Opposing Viewpoints. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/EJ3010545211/OVIC?u=onlinelibrary&sid=OVIC&xid=d38a5577. Accessed 24 Oct. 2019.
- Originally published as “Forcing the Issue: The Potential Consequences of Compulsory Voting on American Democracy,” www.Helium.com, 2007. https://www.psa.ac.uk/insight-plus/beyond-turnout-consequences-compulsory-voting