CNN: Obama Says "Maybe It's Time for Mandatory Voting"

Originally published at CNN.

The president whose major policy achievement is mandatory health insurance thinks maybe voting should be mandatory, too.

Asked how to offset the influence of big money in politics, President Barack Obama suggested it’s time to make voting a requirement.

“Other countries have mandatory voting,” Obama said Wednesday in Cleveland, where he spoke about the importance of middle class economics, and was asked about the issue during a town hall.

“It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything,” he said, adding it was the first time he had shared the idea publicly.

The clout of millionaires and billionaires in campaign funding has been enormous, and many claim the uber wealthy have undue leverage in politics.

“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.”

At least 26 countries have compulsory voting, according to the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Failure to vote is punishable by a fine in countries such as Australia and Belgium; if you fail to pay your fine in Belgium, you could go to prison.

Aside from campaign finance issues, the United States also grapples with one of the lowest voter turnout rates among developed countries.

Less than 37% of eligible voters actually voted in the 2014 midterm elections, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. That means about 144 million Americans — more than the population of Russia — skipped out.

But mandatory voting could bring its own set of problems. Haydon Manning, associate professor at Flinders University in Australia, said that country’s rules can backfire.

“Turning the vote out might not be a problem, but wooing disengaged citizens now requires banal sloganeering and crass misleading negative advertising,” Manning wrote. “To me, this can diminish the democratic experience for those who take the time to think through the issues.”

Read more at CNN.


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  • Christine J. Henry says:

    March 19, 2015 at 11:52 PM

    Maybe it’s time Obama stops trying to change our laws and starts listening to Americans for a change.

    • Dennis says:

      March 27, 2015 at 12:54 PM


    • Sean says:

      March 28, 2015 at 1:27 PM

      Exactly, what the people want and more importantly what God wants.

  • kk says:

    March 20, 2015 at 12:17 AM

    Guess if The Prez mandates voting, then he will then mandate who we vote for.

    • Rich says:

      March 23, 2015 at 11:31 AM

      Take away one freedom at a time until we wake up and we are controlled by the state. Ultimately, that’s what they are looking for. Will it be in a “or else” form? Eventually possibly, but as a practical matter, they will do what they can to use the system to steer the sheep towards effectively mandating.

  • John Sherrill says:

    March 20, 2015 at 12:25 AM

    Manditory Voting??? Why? So this socialist pig can no exactly who disagrees with his Sharea Law Agenda??? Tell Barrack it’s a violation of my Civil Rights since he is such an activist, to force me or any other American Citizen to vote.

    • Pete says:

      March 23, 2015 at 4:27 PM

      Obama can not do anything to mandate voting. The vote is a states right not a federal right,The states do a vote and then results are collectivley put together by another called Electral colledge { ???} that determines who is elected. . . So Obama is full of Bullticky when it comes to Mandatory Voting. I wonder if states could call a special vote to throw him out the Window of second floor of White House? .

  • Siegs Sharpesworth says:

    March 20, 2015 at 12:31 AM

    Hey Obama. I don’t care what other countries have. We are not “other countries” no matter how much you try to make the US into an “other country.” Sure, once you can get illegal immigrants voting and get illegals legalized you certainly would love to have mandatory voting. Maybe it is time for this Fascist, un-American, non-citizen to go become the president of an “other country.”

  • Yanet says:

    March 20, 2015 at 2:16 AM

    i voted for him now I regret my vote I came from another country because us represents freedom not mandatory anything Obama is turning the U.S. Into a communist nation .

    • Sean says:

      March 28, 2015 at 1:29 PM


  • rogerburch says:

    March 20, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    Get this fucking idiot out of the white house. He will never be my president. Resign Obama and do america a favor.

  • J Scott says:

    March 20, 2015 at 4:46 PM

    How about mandatory voting by those who work and pay taxes. No voting if you are on government assistance of any kind.

  • Jennifer Powell says:

    March 21, 2015 at 1:36 AM

    i feel Obama wants to know who stands with or against him. Either to influence them or eliminate them He is a Dictator & a Puppet to his real cause & agenda for destroying America infiltrating it with terrorist group members & make Us a third world country for his people

  • Great Grandmas Cat says:

    March 21, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    Wow! That really sounds like wanna-be-dictator rhetoric. Very, very scary!

  • jeff johnson says:

    March 21, 2015 at 5:47 PM

    Interesting, rather than do more to inform voters and make it easier for them to determine which candidate supports which issue, force voters to vote (whether they are informed or not). Sounds totalitarian to me.

  • James Nolen says:

    March 21, 2015 at 10:12 PM

    I’m a 67 year old male,voted all my life the day I’m told voting is mandatory is the day I no longer vote.PUt me in jail out won’t matter,the way I see it my freedom is gone anyway.

  • Ms Sonshine says:

    March 22, 2015 at 4:25 PM

    When he says other countries have mandatory voting he must have communist Cuba in mind.

  • Sandra R Ley says:

    March 23, 2015 at 2:44 PM

    Can’t someone PLEASE put that simple SOB out of his and our misery?

  • Linda S. says:

    March 24, 2015 at 6:35 PM

    Sorry folks but we still consider him a very good President. So sorry if he upsets you all. lol too funny…

    • Rich says:

      March 28, 2015 at 10:15 AM

      Linda, I don’t care if he signs another executive order requiring all citizen to vote, as long as the order requires all citizens to vote Republican. LOL now that is too funny…..

  • Dennis says:

    March 27, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    If we’re going to make the exercise of Constitutional rights mandatory, then we would be better served to start with mandatory gun ownership.

  • Whitney Davies says:

    March 27, 2015 at 10:07 PM

    Mandatory voting…interesting. Are they then going to require proof of citizenship and check photo ID’s, which is something that the ACLU is currently fighting?

    My photo ID is checked and grocery stores to make sure I am eligible to make certain purchases. Why the discrepancy?

    Markets and businesses are held accountable for violating the law, and are fined. The government has no one to answer to, really, so they don’t care, and in fact, abuse the privilege. So what is the answer?

  • Mobi says:

    March 27, 2015 at 11:10 PM

    Tyranny and stink increases by the hour w BO