After HR1, the Democrats bill to nationalize the election process, was defeated in two consecutive Congresses, one might think the supporters would get the hint and move on. That is clearly not the case as they are chastising Republicans for reestablishing voting rules at the state level, so there is not another free-for-all as we experienced in 2020. There is a new proposal that attempts to cheapen voting and place central control at the federal level for all election rules. Do not discount this can happen because ideas begin this way and then metastasize. You need to be aware.
Long-time Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. authored this new proposal together with former Connecticut Secretary of State Miles Rapoport who currently is a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. They co-authored 100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting. I have not read the book but did read their column on the subject in the WaPo.
The authors make the argument that Americans have many obligations. They are obligated to pay taxes, show up for jury duty, get their kids vaccinated, etc. They should be obligated to vote. Here is the problem with that argument. Almost 50% of Americans pay no income tax and a vast number of people who are “obligated” to sit on juries do not. I have never sat on a jury due to a hearing impairment. My wife has showed up just once but was never seated. When you start with a premise that Americans have government dictated obligations so adding another is not inordinate your premise fails when it cannot hurdle initial comparisons.
A large part of the authors’ argument stems from their initial statement. They state there were changes made during the 2020 election that made voting more convenient, but now states are making it harder for people to vote. Many of those 2020 changes were made unilaterally by state officials and overruled later by the courts. Some are being modified legislatively after the actual experience of 2020 to refine the voting process and better protect the integrity of the election process.
The authors’ prime example of why America should convert to universal voting is Australia. It is stated election day is always on Saturday and turnout is about 90% in every major election. They offered a quote. “Voting in Australia is like a party.” “Participating in elections is not some grim exercise involving endless lines.” The authors say, “Elections become what they should be: celebrations of freedom.”
These two can really paint a picture. First, they do not say that the people of Australia have any better knowledge of what they are voting for than Americans or any knowledge. They just are forced to show up and vote. And since when did Americans perceive voting as a “grim experience”? If we have long voting lines now with 67% turnout for presidential elections, what would it be like with a 90% turnout?
The authors want to punish people for not voting. They want to charge a penalty — $20 for not voting that can be waived with an hour of community service – working for the government. How many new government employees do you suppose would be required for enforcement? How long would the penalty stay at $20? It is likely $40, $60, or more will happen soon. And if you do not pay, how are they going to get the money? By withholding your driver’s license? The Left is always dreaming up new ways to punish people if you do not do what they want.
The authors argue that this proposal is constitutional because they are not actually requiring voters to vote for someone. People can cast a blank ballot or vote for a “none of the above” choice. Aren’t Americans already free to make a choice by doing what they are currently doing, i.e., not voting? Isn’t that better than someone being forced to show up at a polling place just to write “Screw You” on a ballot? But they would get a day off from work which is ironic since most people do not work on Saturday already.
Let me remind you, we are different than other countries and that includes Australia. We have the Bill of Rights. We have protections. That is why people have not come into our homes and taken our guns like they did in Australia or arrested us for walking down a beach by ourselves during the pandemic like they did in Australia.
The esteemed authors need a refresher course in our Constitution. Just read the Ninth Amendment which states “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” There is no right for the government to compel us to show up to vote. With the Ninth Amendment we have the right not to and no one can force us otherwise.
How about the people who like to vote but find it useless? I go through the fruitless effort every time I get ballot. Unless there are propositions on the ballot, the people I vote for never win. I am a Republican in Los Angeles, California. The last time I cast a vote for a candidate who won elective office was in a non-partisan race 20 years ago. There are many people who say forget it and have every right to do so.
The authors did not address such issues as cleaning the voter rolls, voter ID, or dead people voting. People on the left like to forget about those issues. The authors cited 20 democracies around the world who have some form of voter obligation, but they ignore the 46 democracies in Europe with voter ID laws, yet we do not have universal voter ID laws as we should.
This is a classic leftist idea. Rather than providing positive encouragement for people to vote in a cleaner and safer system, force them to do something and punish them if they do not. It is a harebrained unconstitutional idea, but just be aware they will be promoting this very soon. These are the same people who brought us the idea of strangers coming to your door and collecting your ballot – ballot harvesting — and they wanted to make that universal.