Voter participation is on the president’s mind. During an MSNBC town hall in February, President Barack Obama expressed bewilderment over why Americans did not participate in the 2014 midterm elections. Now, the AP reports that the president says it may be time to pass mandatory voting laws (compulsory voting).
“If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country,” Obama said, calling it potentially transformative. Obama also said universal voting would “counteract money more than anything.”
The president made similar remarks during the MSNBC town hall event.
“There are war-torn countries, people full of poverty, who still voted 60, 70 percent. If here in the United States of America, we voted at 60 percent, 70 percent, it would transform our politics. Our Congress would be completely different.” – U.S. President Barack Obama
Currently, 22 countries enforce compulsory voting laws, including the United States’ southern neighbor, Mexico, as well as Australia, Belgium, Egypt, Greece, Paraguay, and more.
“At issue, Obama said, is the outsize influence that those with money can have on U.S. elections, where low overall turnout often gives an advantage to the party best able to turn out its base. Obama has opposed Citizens United and other court rulings that cleared the way for super PACs and unlimited campaign spending, but embraced such groups in his 2012 re-election campaign out of fear he’d be outspent.
Obama said he thought it would be “fun” for the U.S. to consider amending the Constitution to change the role that money plays in the electoral system. But don’t hold your breath.” – AP