Why do you vote? Maybe a family tradition. You’re a dedicated party supporter or even an anti-party voter. Either way, it turns out very few Americans elect people to over 511,000 political seats. Voter turnout declines
while massive political protests increase across our great nation. The media tends to base their coverage on
the top 537 spots-US Congress and the Presidency and Vice Presidency- which have seen lower than normal turnout. Voters continually cite reasons including but not limited to; apathy, lack of trust, unacceptable media exposure, negative campaigns, belief vote doesn’t count and so on. The declining behavior creates
excess freedom of will for politicians. If it’s “We the People” than we must vote. Mandatory voting would increase equal representation, decrease election funding, and increase elected representative accountability.
Mandatory Voting Increases Minority Representation
Remember Michael Brown, the young African-American killed in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. That action set off protests across the nation. Rightly so. But it didn’t increase voter participation in the majority minority town,
estimated at a 67% African-American population. In 2015 the voter turnout for the city council and mayoral election was 30%. At the same time these under represented townspeople were on the hook with a record deficit of $3.2
million from protest and legal based costs. The town has since changed its prosecution of minorities but there will be future unrest as minorities are still not being represented. This is a perfect example of why mandatory voting would increase equality of representation. If the people of Ferguson were forced to vote, there would be more minorities running and more minorities voting. There’s a definite correlation that minorities will vote for qualified candidates of their race. Compared to big cities where diversity is abundant, mandatory voting would open doors for a future of balanced equality of representation for small towns and municipalities.
Voting Rights Costs Taxpayers Millions
Mandatory voting would eliminate the ever-expanding complications from Voter ID and Voting Rights Act obligations. The Federal Election Commission’s 2016 budget was $76.1 million. More than a third of that
funding is for research, software upgrades and operating expenses. That’s a high price in a Democratic country
with an abysmal voting rate-less than 50% at any given time. A study by ProPublica found voter protection costs are $75 to $400 per person. Money magazine calculated polling machines cost $2500 apiece and poll workers are
paid up to $300 per election day. A total cost for one election is now in the billions. Each state defers costs for local elections in myriad ways leaving small locales responsible for the majority. Would a business owner pay billions for a one day event at their business if only 40-50% of each consumer was going to buy? No way. Then why should local taxpayers be on the hook for thousands of non-voters that small locales usually cannot afford? Mandatory voting would create a balance between the investment and outcomes of the election process. Taxpayers would pay attention not only to who they must vote for but costs. Costs could decrease as taxpayers instituted permanent polling places and workers while decreasing get out the vote federal mandates to alert the public to vote each election. A mandatory voting future election day would most likely include new referendums to keep election
day costs down. Mandatory voting would eliminate many of the costs of voting rights legalities while serving a greater proportion of local voters.
No Vote, No Accountability
Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says, “Don’t Blame Me I Didn’t Vote”. Somehow that doesn’t make sense. If someone doesn’t vote, they are the blame. Limited candidates occur when voter competition is projected
to be low. Low voter turnout increases apathetic politicians, a lack of sociotropic issue focus and direct representation. The worst effect is the rule of incumbents. Incumbents are notorious for their disconnect from their
constituencies. Studies have shown that in local elections incumbents promote financial spending that is adverse for communities. Incumbents are held to the demands of their special interests that continue to finance their elections. If more people vote, the constituency demands will grow. Elected officials will need to heed the call of more than their core voters. Direct representation would increase due to the higher level of accountability to more
If given the option to vote or pay a $100 to abstain, would you vote?