Forced to the Polls? An Opinion on Compulsory Voting

I (re)realized something a few days ago.  Something that was shook me to my core in ways that I never thought was possible prior to my advanced civic education.

In America, there is an undeniable and unequivocal
obsession with Constitutional rights. 

Yeah, you read that right. But like all of my previous posts from The Sapiocracy and my future posts hereafter, let me throw the point at you and follow it up with an explanation.

I’m all for rights. Human rights, women’s rights, elders’ rights, gay rights, rights for incarcerated individuals, and so forth. However, what I admonish is the over-zealousness of one’s rights that, to a degree, it impedes upon a citizen’s civic duty. What I’m referring to is voting. Voting is said to be the most powerful tool at the disposal of the American constituent. Every politician that has been, is or will be (under our present system) must submit themselves before the will of the people in an effort to win their votes for election. Once they have commanded the confidence of a majority of voters, they win. Simple right?

All voters are constituents, but not every constituent is a voter.

Often times, I find myself confronted with the stark reality that many of the people who complain about the current state of affairs and choose to do nothing about it are just constituents with a constitutional power that they refuse to exercise. Unfortunately, in the United States, we have taken that power for granted and many of us that represent a variety of demographics, refuse to participate in the most sacred part of the American experience. Which brings me to my argument…I partially agree with compulsory voting.

Image result for compulsory voting cartoon
Courtesy of Emily Howard | The Appalachian

The rights and liberties granted to us by the Constitution are second to none. They should be enjoyed by all who live under its purview. But voting is that one right that I just find hard to keep persuading myself should be a voluntary right. To me, it’s much more than just a right — it’s a duty. It’s a public display of one’s respect and support for the democratic institutions which constitute our government. We may disagree with what our political leaders implement in our name, but voting gives us the opportunity to reverse that action by replacing public servants with those whom we feel best represent our interests.

Sounds like some big, secret decision made in some company’s boardroom, doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s a public show of approval or disapproval of a public servant’s performance. It’s a decision that affects the livelihood of generations and can have a profound impact on the areas in which these public servants are responsible to.

The part of me that believes in compulsory voting supports a tax penalty for those who do not participate. Be aware, I am not advocating for a ‘slippery slope’ effect where if this were to become adopted, other liberties will then be translated into requirements. But I do believe that voting is the single greatest tool in a thriving and comprehensive democracy. It lets us and the rest of the world know that we take our freedom seriously and we have the utmost confidence in our democratic processes.

We want to be free…then let us do what it takes to remain free.

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