One of the issues being debated on the Internet this week is mandatory Voting. At first look, those wanting to increase voter participation among the disenfranchised might think it a good idea. We would get better representation from minorities and the poor (not to mention the Democrats would get a big boost. Yes, Virginia, this is simply another partisan political ploy.) Those opposed might argue that such people are illiterate and really shouldn’t vote. Besides being very politically incorrect, the argument is really unimportant as there is a much more basic reason why forcing citizens to vote is a bad idea.
The Declaration of Independence speaks of inalienable rights. Among those being life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Another such right is moral agency. All men and women get to choose whether or not we want to be honorable and moral individuals. We all get to choose to be good or to be bad. Anything that removes that inalienable right is also, by definition and affect, evil.
Choice is a foundational principle of this life. It is choice that determines good vs. evil in all aspects of mortality. It ranges from the individual to the largest of corporations and governments. “Good” favors choice; “evil” would remove it. As argument let’s run through a few easy examples: Tolerance = good: Bigotry = evil. Freedom of speech = good: Political censorship = evil. Saving a life = good: Murder removes choice = evil. Democracy = good: fascism = evil. Some choices become a little more difficult. This one however, is very clear. Forcing someone to vote removes choice and is therefore evil.
How many steps away from forcing the vote would it be to select “who” is on the ballot? After all, if we allow them to vote, they may vote Republican! If we just allowed Democrats on the ballot then the voters would be more likely to “get it right.” This is what Mexico used to do. How many steps from there to just one name on the ballot. That way, we can ensure that the voters will make the correct choice. I know, the argument may be over the top but, not really. Is stealing a candy bar any different than stealing your mothers wedding ring? Only in degree. Is taking the choice to vote away that much different than telling people who to vote for? The difference again, is only in degree. You are removing choice.
Why is forcing someone to vote a bad idea? It comes down to one word: FREEDOM.
We are the United States of American and supposedly, we stand for freedom.
Samuel Waen Jensen