Many democracies have compulsory voting, but not the United States.
Would it be unconstitutional here?
Some constitutional experts think it would be a violation of the principle of freedom of speech. This freedom means you can speak up for what you believe. Is also means that you have the right to remain silent. Compulsory voting could be considered a “compelled speech act,” which violates the principle of freedom of speech.
Not voting might be a deliberate political choice. It could indicate satisfaction with current policies, political parties, and elected officials.
That seems very unlikely, given the deep and widespread lack of confidence in all branches of government. Not voting may reflect apathy or a feeling that one’s vote doesn’t matter. We know that many nonvoters are young, poor, or have lower levels of education. “Too busy” is a reason often given by nonvoters.
Compulsory voting might get more people to the polls, but it can’t make them cast a meaningful ballot—or even a ballot with a vote on it. One could simply check “none of the above” or fill in a nonsense name. Such ballots are called “donkey votes.” Another variation of a donkey vote is to simply vote in the order the candidates are presented on the ballot. (This could be prevented, however, if online voting was used and candidates were presented in randomized order.)
Do you believe compulsory voting violates your right to freedom of speech?
Would compulsory voting improve voter turnout?
Your opinion matters …
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