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Mandatory Voting: A Potentially New Civic Duty

In today’s blog, Michael Omidi discusses recent comments by President Obama in regards to mandatory voting. Yesterday, it was reported that President Obama made comments at the City Club of Cleveland in regards to mandatory voting. The President stated, “It would be transformative if everybody voted. That would counteract money more than anything.” He mentioned that other countries like Australia have put in law compulsory voting. Now it is clear that this wouldn’t happen for some time, if ever, but what would the ramifications of mandatory voting be? In Cleveland, President Obama noted, “Less than 37% of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2014 midterms, according to the United States Election Project. And a Pew Research Center study found that those avoiding the polls in 2014 tended to be younger, poorer, less educated and more racially diverse.” Those numbers are astronomically low. That means over half of the population of registered voters chose not to participate. Thus, over half the country gave up their political voice. By introducing mandatory voting, the people would be required to express their opinions. Further, as the President stated, it would “completely change the political map in this country.” By passing a law requiring people to vote, voting would become our civic duty. Thus, registered voters would be active participants of the political process. The current state of voting in this country is atrocious. By volunteering to give up their political voice, voters are allowing decisions to be determined by lobbyists and Super-Pacts. The result of this is creating greater disparity between social class and giving favors to corporate entities. This country was founded on the voice of the people. We have passed amendment after amendment to give people a voice in the political process. By refusing to vote, these non-voters are rebuking historical progress that past generations fought to secure. Now, it is unclear whether or not mandatory voting will ever become law, but if it did, it could help progress. Politicians would be forced to think about the interest of the common person. Next time voting day arrives, be sure to do your part and cast your ballot. Yours in health, Michael Omidi Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of Civic Duty, a nonprofit organization that celebrates and raises awareness of individuals who give back to their communities.

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