Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Mandatory Voting vs. Opening Up the Political Process

Mandatory Voting Isn’t a Solution to Polarization (John Sides, The American Prospect) First, the period of the highest voter turnout (of those eligible)—the mid- to late- 1800s—coincided with a lot of party polarization.  And the decline in turnout in the first half of the twentieth century occurred during a decline in polarization.  Compare turnout in presidential elections and polarization.  And the increasing turnout in presidential elections during the past decade has coincided with increasing polarization. Second, although states vary in whether they allow independents to vote in party primaries, more “open” primaries do not tend to produce more moderate members of Congress or less polarized state legislatures.


Should Americans be Forced to Vote?

by  William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.

Some guy who is paid a fat salary by a rich think tank says that the best way to raise voter turnout is to force folks to vote. The New York Times gave him lots of space

This guy fails to see the cause of low interest and low turnout – political powerlessness. Turnout largely follows the power/wealth scale in the US. Turnout increases as you go up the scale, and decreases as you go down it. The wealthiest have the highest turnout, and the most power to get what they want from government... [continue reading]

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