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Blaze Poll: Should Voting in National Elections Be Mandatory?


"26 countries have 'some form of compulsory voting.'"

Image source: YouTube

With a 53.6 percent voter turnout in the 2012 election, American voters are well behind several developed nations when it comes to participating in the selection our leaders.

Image source: YouTube

How does America get more eligible voters to the polls? Lawmakers, politicians and pundits have offered a host of ideas on how to increase citizen participation in elections.

Two frequently mentioned suggestions are weekend voting and mandatory voting.

Advocates for weekend voting say our current system is outdated: American national elections have been congressionally mandated to happen on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November since 1845. The reasons for declaring a Tuesday in November as election day was tied to faith and farming.

In the middle of the 19th century, most Americans lived in rural locations like farms. In order to reach a polling place, many had to travel an entire day to cast a ballot.Sundays were considered off limits for the travel day because so many citizens spent the day in church. Plus, Wednesdays were day most farmers brought their goods to market.

Tuesdays in November — after prime harvest time and before winter arrived — seemed to make the most sense for national elections.

Those pushing for mandatory voting — specifically enacting a law requiring adults to vote in national elections or be fined — often cite Australia as an example of how a simple mandate has lifted Aussie voter participation to 90 percent or higher.

According to CNN's Fareed Zakaria, 26 countries have "some form of compulsory voting." Zakaria also cited President Barack Obama's 2015 address to the City Club of Cleveland talking about the "transformative" effect a large spike in voter participation could have on American elections, again mentioning Australia's mandatory voting.

Where do you stand on the government forcing people to vote or be fined? How about moving the elections or even allowing online voting? Take our Blaze poll:

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