Opinion: It’s time to make voting mandatory in America

May 18, 2017, 11:40 AM | Updated: May 19, 2017, 11:17 am
Voters cast their ballots at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center on the Near East Side of Madison, Wis....

Voters cast their ballots at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center on the Near East Side of Madison, Wis., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. (Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

(Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

This week, I had to respond to my summons for jury duty. You know, that terrifying little postcard that we get in the mail every couple years.

So I called when I was told to call. I listened to the recording to see if my group number was selected for the following day. I was told to call back the next day at 10 a.m. Really?

Look, we’ve been doing this jury duty thing since we became a nation. You would think we’d get it right by now.

That brings me to the current situation that we are in politically. Our nation is divided between President Donald Trump’s supporters and the anti-Trump crowd.

It seems that every man, woman and child in this nation has an opinion one way or the other on Trump and his administration.

That’s funny to me, because only 60 percent of eligible voters actually showed up and voted in November’s election.

It is time to make voting mandatory.

Once again, there are only three things that we need to do as Americans to maintain all of the liberties we have: Pay taxes, participate in the legal system and vote. All should be mandatory.

My recent jury summons really drove this home for me. Mandatory voting could actually work.

I get two major arguments against mandatory voting every time I bring this up.

The first is that if everyone has to vote, people that are uneducated and aren’t participating in the system already will be electing our representatives in Washington, D.C.

Please tell me how that is any different than 12 people sitting on a jury that weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty, 12 people that have most of their legal knowledge coming from “Law & Order.”

These 12 people might decide whether or not a man or woman is put to death and you want to talk about uneducated voters?

How about Congress having a 9 percent approval rating, yet we see almost a 90 percent incumbent re-election rate? Yeah, dumb people are still voting.

Then people ask about the people who can’t get proper identification or can’t get to the voting booth after they are summoned to their polling place?

This is how it should work: They receive the summons in the mail. They can then contact the court and make arrangements, or they can contact the court and be excused from voting — just like jury duty.

Better yet, they could always vote by mail.

I think if we can set up the voting system very similarly to the jury system, we can have a true representative republic.

At least then everyone can complain all they want because they actually participated.

Michael Russell

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Opinion: It’s time to make voting mandatory in America