I agree that mandatory voting is a powerful check against moneyed interests hijacking the government, but Australia, which has both mandatory voting and preferential ranked ballots, has still managed to elect some fucking awful politicians.
"Other countries have mandatory voting," Obama said Wednesday in Cleveland, where he spoke about the importance of middle class economics, and was asked about the issue during a town hall.
"It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything," he said, adding it was the first time he had shared the idea publicly.
The clout of millionaires and billionaires in campaign funding has been enormous, and many claim the uber wealthy have undue leverage in politics.
"The people who tend not to vote are young, they're lower income, they're skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups," Obama said. "There's a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls."
At least 26 countries have compulsory voting, according to the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Failure to vote is punishable by a fine in countries such as Australia and Belgium; if you fail to pay your fine in Belgium, you could go to prison.
Obama: Maybe it's time for mandatory voting [Holly Yan/CNN]
(Image: An "I Voted" sticker, Dwight Burdette, CC-BY)