Ever since 2000 when the Republican Party stole the presidency from Al Gore, the GOP has been getting
bolder dirtier in their tactics to gain and keep political power.
Since 2010, the unprecedented level of obstruction by the GOP-led House has been joined by an aggressive nationwide GOP redistricting strategy begun after the census (and mid-term elections) to ensure Republican dominance.
The latest weapon in the GOP’s arsenal is voter suppression which can be achieved by making it harder: to register to vote, to prove eligibility, to vote early, and to vote by mail. It is estimated that as many as 5 million voters could be affected by these voter suppression tactics nationwide.
So, I’ve been researching about what could be done to stop voter suppression and it seems that an effective way is through compulsory voting, which requires the citizens of a nation to vote. Wikipedia explains:
If everybody must vote, then restrictions on voting are easily identified and steps are taken to remove them. It is a measure to prevent disenfranchisement of the socially disadvantaged. Countries with compulsory voting generally hold elections on a Saturday or Sunday as evidenced in nations such as Australia, to ensure that working people can fulfill their duty to cast their vote. Postal and pre-poll voting is provided to people who cannot vote on polling day, and mobile voting booths may also be taken to old age homes and hospitals to cater for immobilized citizens.
Imagine that, a country taking measures “to prevent disenfranchisement of the socially disadvantaged.” Here in the U.S., it is precisely the socially disadvantaged—who usually vote for Democrats— who are targeted fo voter suppression by the GOP.
I don’t know if compulsory voting is the cure for voter suppression, but it seems to have many advantages worth looking into. However, the chances of compulsory voting ever becoming a reality in the U.S. are nil. Considering how much they risk to lose, the Republican party would make sure to poison public opinion against it before we could even have an intelligent debate on its merits.
If you think I’m exaggerating, consider the case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. It was so expertly and negatively spinned by the GOP that even when voters agreed with its individual provisions they were still rejecting it. I can only begin to imagine what they would do to discredit and malign “those who would take away our individual freedom and force us to vote.”
It’s too bad that these days we are so often forced to listen to their BS and to live with their decisions.
Note: Originally published on October 1, 2012