President Barack Obama talked about a mandatory voting in the US during his speech at the City Club of Cleveland on March 18.
The president attended talks on middle-class economics and manufacturing at Cleveland Convention Center.
Just ask Australia, where citizens have no choice but to vote, the president said.
“If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country,” Barack Obama said, calling it potentially transformative.
Disproportionately, Americans who skip the polls on Election Day are younger, lower-income and more likely to be immigrants or minorities, the president said.
“There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls,” Barack Obama said in a veiled reference to efforts in a number of Republican-led states to make it harder for people to vote.
Less than 37% of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2014 midterms, according to the United States Election Project. And a Pew Research Center study found that those avoiding the polls in 2014 tended to be younger, poorer, less educated and more racially diverse.
At least two dozen countries have some form of compulsory voting, including Belgium, Brazil and Argentina.
In many systems, absconders must provide a valid excuse or face a fine, although a few countries have laws on the books that allow for potential imprisonment.
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