Critical Conversation: Mandatory voting wouldn’t do diddly

Last night, the good folks on Critical Conversations had me back to join in their discussion about all things voting.

One of the topics we got to was mandatory voting, which I said was a bad idea in my column this week ar Communities Digital News. It might drive up turnout numbers, but it won’t address the reasons why so many people don’t bother to show up on Election Day. The discussion actually reminded me of student government elections back at UMass, where people frequently won seats with a single write-in vote. Contested races where people cared enough to advertise and ask for votes had better turnout.

The same principles apply to down-ballot races for municipal and state offices. People don’t vote if they don’t care, and it’s the job of candidates and parties to convince them to care.

If you want higher turnout, we need better campaigns.

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