Vote, or else…
An on-line article in Der Spiegel today reports on the low turnout in last Sunday’s vote for the Eurpean Union’s parliamentary elections. “Across the 27-member bloc, just 42.9 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots. That marks the lowest turnout since direct voting began in 1979.” Various solutions to the problem are being proposed, including popular election to the EU’s Commission as well as of the EU’s president, which might spark greater interest.
There was also low voter turnout for the recent election in Germany, at which the Social Democrats did very poorly. Its parliamentarian, Jorn Thiessen has proposed that voters who don’t vote be fined: “We politicians are required to vote in parliament,” he told Bild. “One can require the same of voters in an election. Those who don’t cast their ballots should be fined €50. A democracy without democrats doesn’t work.” Spiegel comments:
Thiessen’s idea is not quite as outlandish as it may sound. Australia has enforced compulsory voting since 1924 and fines people between 20 and 70 Australian dollars should they provide no good reason for not having cast their ballots. Argentina is also a member of the elite, mandatory voting club.
There are also a few European members in that club, including Luxembourg and Belgium. Their turnouts in the European elections: 91 percent and 90.4 percent, respectively.
Good idea, or bad? Would it be unconstitutional in the USA?