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Universal Civic Duty Voting Advantages

July 20, 2020

The Brookings Report: “Lift Every Voice: The Urgency of Universal Civic Duty Voting” raises awareness of reasons I hadn’t known, for example, as per the NYT:

  • “Larger turnouts would force candidates to broaden their appeal, reducing partisanship.”
  • “Mandatory balloting would eliminate the incentive to suppress the votes of opponents’ supporters”
  • “Money that parties now spend on registering and turning out supporters could be devoted to educating them on the issues.”

“The democracy movement is literally standing in the midst of a globalized movement for social justice… What was seen as impossible to discuss five years ago is being discussed now.” –Cornell William Brooks, Kennedy School professor, former N.A.A.C.P. president, who helped prepare the study.

“It’s about showing up, rather than forcing people to make a choice,” –Brenda Wright, senior legal strategist at the voting-rights group Demos and one of the study’s authors.

“The report urges Congress and the states to make voting mandatory, even if the ballot is blank, but also to make the penalty for not voting minimal and to offer a range of acceptable excuses for those who fail to cast ballots.”

“The study takes its cue from Australia, where voting has been mandatory since 1924, turnout regularly pushes 90 percent and Election Day — Saturday there — has a party atmosphere, often featuring grilled “democracy sausages” for those who cast ballots. But civic duty voting, as if it sometimes called, is the rule in more than a score of nations, including in Mexico and most of South America.”

So, that does it! I now fully agree that this is “vital to the long-term legitimacy of the democratic system itself,” and clearly “democracy is facing historic challenges.”

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