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Friday, September 9, 2016

Voter Turnout in the US

Questions to Consider:
1. How does the voter turnout rate in the US compare to other countries?
2. What are some reasons for this discrepancy?
3. Should voter registration be automatic?
4. Should the US adopt compulsory voting?

Washington Post: Proof that the US Voter Turnout Rate is Embarrassing

Here's a chart from the Pew Research Center's article, US Voter Turnout Trails Most Developed Countries.

Automatic Registration?
Oregon and California became the first two states to automatically register people to vote when they renew their driver's license. Citizens may opt out, but the government's attempt to take the initiative and register all eligible voters is expected to dramatically increase the number of registered voters. However, what effect it has on voter turnout remains to be seen.

NPR: California Becomes the 2nd State to Automatically Register Voters

Brennan Center: Automatic Voter Registration Campaign

Compulsory Voting?

Many of the countries that have high voter turnout rate also have compulsory voting--non-voters may be fined for not showing up on election day. Recently, President Obama suggested compulsory voting as a way to balance out the influence of big money in the election process.

Here are a few more articles about the proposed compulsory voting:

Sorry, Obama: Compulsory Voting is a Terrible Idea

A Feasible Roadmap to Compulsory Voting

Obama suggests making it mandatory to vote. That would change very little.

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