US President Barack Obama on Wednesday floated the idea of mandatory voting in the country, saying it would serve as a ‘potentially transformative’ step towards revamping the political and democratic system of the United States.
The President made the remark while addressing a civic group in Cleveland on Wednesday.
When asked about the money influence during the elections in the United States, Obama underscored the issues in the voting system and related laws in the US that are barring the people, mostly younger generation, from participating in the electoral processes. He said that the country should work efficiently in direction of making it easier for the Americans to exercise their voting rights.
Calling the mandatory voting “potentially transformative”, Obama said, “If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country. Not only that but universal voting would counteract money more than anything.”
Obama said the reports suggest that Americans who skip the elections are disproportionately younger, lower-income, less literate and generally immigrants or minorities.
“There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls,” the President said in an indirect reference to the process of voter identification and related laws in several states in the country.
As per the figures of United States Election Project, less than 37 percent of eligible voters excercised their franchise during the mid-term polls in 2014. According to a Pew Research Center study, those who opted out of the polls last year were mostly younger, less educated, poorer, and more racially diverse class.
At least two dozen nations, including Argentina, Belgium and Brazil, have some form of compulsory voting laws. In several systems, the absconders are stringently asked to provide valid reason for their absence or face a fine. There are few nations that have laws on the books allowing for potential imprisonment.