Accessible but voluntary

Monday, August 17, 2015

The long lines for voting at certain low-income precincts in some states in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections resulted from a shameful and blatant strategy to shape the outcome of elections.

This could continue to be a problem in the future. Federal action to ensure wait times of no more than 30 minutes to vote would be justified. However, measures beyond that to encourage voter participation are not needed.

President Obama has endorsed the idea that the United States, like Australia, should require citizens to vote, under pain of punishment if they don't.

Voting should be a right but not an obligation. If someone does not have a preference or does not understand the candidates, refraining from voting is a reasonable, even a responsible choice.