Compulsion

Orszag: Compulsory Voting for All!

|

Peter Orszag in 2009, part of the Obama brain trust.

Peter Orszag, vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup and former director of the Office of Management and Budget, wants to make voting mandatory for all of-age Americans. 

Writing in Bloomberg, Orszag says it's "our own fault" we get such poor results when we vote: 

Compulsory voting, as exists in Australia and more than two dozen other countries, would fix that problem. As William Galston of the Brookings Institution argues, "Jury duty is mandatory; why not voting?"

Mandating voting has a clear effect: It raises participation rates. Before Australia adopted compulsory voting in 1924, for example, it had turnout rates similar to those of the U.S. After voting became mandatory, participation immediately jumped from 59 percent in the election of 1922 to 91 percent in the election of 1925.

Those "more than two dozens other countries," by the way, include such envies of the world as Libya, Argentina, Congo, Lebanon, Egypt and Nauru. (Actually, Nauru seems interesting.) 

I have never had the pleasure of visiting Australia, but I trust the word of people who tell me it is a good country with a good government. Still, are the differences in electoral results between the United States and Australia so great that we want to impose more paperwork and travel or postage? 

Orszag was not so supportive of democracy in September 2011. (We were so much younger then.) 

To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions. In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic.

Breitbart.com says ahoy, irony

The irony, of course, is that the Democrats seem fine with forcing people to the polls, but object strenuously to people showing ID at the polls when they show up voluntarily. Forcing people to vote seems significantly more burdensome than asking them to show identification. But one measure prevents voter fraud, while one promotes liberal constituencies stuffing the ballot box. So that explains that.

I don't know from voter ID laws. I know that in Robert Greenwald's film Koch Bros. Exposed California is listed as one of the states where voting is suppressed by Charles and David Koch (both of whom have given to Reason Foundation and the latter of whom sits on the foundation's board). Like most of the film, this is false: At the beginning of this month I not only was allowed to vote without showing any kind of identification but was told to put my wallet away when I tried to show my California driver's license. 

Finally, you're only required to do jury duty if you register to vote (ymmv). 

NEXT: Defund Egypt's Generals to Give Democracy a Fighting Chance

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. There’s so much wrong here I don’t know here to start.Time for a beer

  2. My first vote would be to vote against anybody who supported any sort of mandatory voting.

  3. but I trust the word of people who tell me it is a good country with a good government.

    ———-

    Bad call.

  4. Here’s the difference with jury service.

    Jurors are screened for bias; those who pass the screening and are (un)lucky enough to be selected are then forced to listen to the evidence which the court deems relevant to the jury’s decision.

    Are voters screened out for bias? Does the government make sure voters have examined the evidence on which they need to base their vote?

    1. He’s a typical cuntstain who stupidly equates democracy with freedom and supports forcing citizens to vote by the power of law. I don’t think thinking things over the way you do is a habit for him, so don’t expect him or his progressive coreligionists to ever understand anything correctly.

    2. Finally, you’re only required to do jury duty if you register to vote (ymmv).

      Not in Arkansas or Delaware. The motherfuckers already got me for duty based solely off my driver’s license. I would imagine the idea is become more common.

      1. Not in New York either. I know because I was in the system twice. I go by my middle name, and my voting registration was first initial, middle name, last name; while my driver’s license is first name, middle initial, last name. I got a juror summons under one of them, and the county didn’t need jurors that week, so I was immune from jury duty for four years. Two years later, I get a summons under the other one.

        When I call to tell them what’s happened, the bitch at the county courthouse tells me it’s my own damn fault.

        I got called a third time back in 2008, but they didn’t need any jurors that week either and now I’m exempt until 2014. Meanwhile, I don’t think either of my parents have received a juror summons in over 20 years.

    3. By the way, why should jury duty be mandatory?

      1. It shouldn’t. Been a standard part of libertarian thinking for a long time now.

  5. Clearly what we need is a benevolent libertarian dictatorship. From what I’m told, the only way it works is if everything is organized in exactly the right way, and you’ll never get there through a messy democratic process. Only with a libertarian despot who can remake the system from the ground up will endless tax cuts for billionaires start producing positive results, unlike now when all they do is explode the deficit and make more poor people.

    1. Does anything serve to refresh the tree of liberty quite so effectively as the putrid blood of a progressive degenerate?

      1. Seems like you’re on board then. Couldn’t come up with a better fascist slogan if I tried.

        1. Shithead is not competent to offer any sort of honest discussion.

        2. You’re aware, I’m sure, that the reason words exist is to convey meaning, right? Words have meaning. Let me give you an example: “Liberty” is a word, and it has a meaning. Do you follow? No? Predictable.

          Here’s a summary of what you just did: Pinko dick brands political ideology advocating absence of government fascism, spews more stupid shit. Rinse and repeat.

          Try again.

          1. There’s more hatred for democracy on these boards than at an ayatollah’s dinner party.

            No incremental movement in the libertarian direction ever works. Privatizing electricity was a disaster, reducing financial regulations was a disaster, making higher education for-profit is a disaster, cutting taxes on billionaires is a disaster. So, I’m told it’s because of antilibertarian elements to all of these things that makes them not work, and if we had a pure free market then everything would work out perfectly.

            So how do we get there without a libertarian dictator? How else are you gonna get all those old, disabled, and poor people off the gravy train?

            1. Absolute horseshit.

              Does anything serve to refresh the tree of liberty quite so effectively as the putrid blood of a progressive slavemaker?

              1. Gotta love internet action heroes. When the tea party revolution finally comes, it’ll be interesting what is the deciding factor. Is the advantage in personal firepower enough for you guys to overcome disadvantages in intelligence and body mass?

                1. Pinko cunt makes banal “fat redneck idiots” joke, film at 11.

                  Does anything serve to refresh the tree of liberty quite so effectively as the putrid blood of a progressive slavemaker?

                  1. For which other groups do you advocate genocide?

                    1. You’re not even trying anymore.

                      Does anything serve to refresh the tree of liberty quite so effectively as the putrid blood of a progressive slavemaker?

            2. Fake Tony is Fake.

            3. T o n y|6.23.12 @ 2:40PM|#
              “Privatizing electricity was a disaster”

              Shithead is not competent to offer any sort of honest discussion.

              1. I may be wrong, but I’m fairly certain that the vast majority of Americans have been getting electricity from private utilities for about a hundred years or so now.

                Perhaps Tody the moron is referring to the California re regulation of electricty that happned a while back.

                If that waasn.t proof that state control of electical suplies is bogus, I’m not sure what is.

                Again Toady proves he not to be taken seriously because everything he knows is wrong.

    2. I’m sorry to break this to you Tony, but you clearly don’t know what you are talking about, though, like most true believers, you are quite certain that you do.

      1. So how much more do we need to cut taxes before it starts producing jobs?

        1. Shithead is not competent to offer any sort of honest discussion.

      2. Sam Grove|6.23.12 @ 2:26PM|#
        “I’m sorry to break this to you Tony, but you clearly don’t know what you are talking about,…”

        You are entirely too kind. Shithead dispenses nothing other than lies and other dishonest attempts at ‘argument’.
        Shithead is not competent to offer any sort of honest discussion.

    3. This is a spoof. Or he’s deliberately being a dick. Either way, ignore it.

      1. Can’t be a spoof post-registration…

        1. He’s always been a dick.

    4. Not everything should be voted on. I think even a totalitarian cocksucker like you would realize that.

    5. This is pretty infantile.

    6. Clearly what we need is a benevolent libertarian dictatorship.

      Are oxymorons considered clever around the hipster coffee shops where you hang out, Tony?

      -jcr

    7. Yes, a libertarian dictatorship, where people are forced to have free speech, and the right to keep the fruits of their labor. Oh, the horror.

  6. Only if I can vote for Orszag getting gelded on live TV.

    1. Can it be done without anesthesia? Please?

      1. Anesthesia? Shit, I was thinking iodine and a spork.

    2. To restrict democracy from holding such a vote is clearly dictatorial.

  7. “Tomorrow, when you are sealed in the voting cubicle, vote for me, Senator Ka… Bob Dole.”

  8. Oh fuck. Where to start. He’s not even correct about his framing of the issue:

    For economists, the puzzle is not why voting participation rates are so low in voluntary systems, but why they’re so high. The so-called paradox of voting, highlighted in a 1957 book by the political scientist Anthony Downs, occurs because the probability that any individual voter can alter the outcome of an election is effectively zero. So if voting imposes any cost, in terms of time or hassle, a perfectly rational person would conclude it’s not worth doing. The problem is that if each person were to reach such a rational conclusion no one would vote, and the system would collapse.

    As fewer people vote, the value of an individual vote increases. Additionally, we typically don’t vote on just one thing, but on a range of candidates and issues, so there is more of a likelihood that some of our individual votes will matter enough to participate in the whole process.

    At any rate, the timing of this column is hilarious considering that a pretty small handful of us in California defeated Prop 29 just by showing up. Backers conceded yesterday. I wouldn’t have voted, but I wanted to vote “no” on that. And now, I plan to collect $.25/pack from each of my friends that smoke. For me, voting is good business.

    1. He also assumes the only value in voting is in influencing the outcome of an election. If hassle and time spent at the poll is a legitimate cost, then feelings of pride in meeting a civic obligation counts as a benefit.

      IOW, people vote mainly because they have some understanding of what it was like not to be allowed to. Rational “irrationality” is a concept far too often overlooked.

  9. “Writing in Bloomberg, Orszag says it’s “our own fault” we get such poor results when we vote:

    Compulsory voting, as exists in Australia and more than two dozen other countries, would fix that problem.”

    How does that suggestion support that conclusion? Why is the percentage of the populace who vote have anything to do with the quality of election results? People who don’t vote voluntarily do not care much for politics, by definition, they are not going to make a well-informed decision. Orzog’s mandatory voting is stupid on its face for the reasons he claims he wants it.

  10. So a power-worshiping lickspittle suggests compulsion to ameliorate the non-problem of some folks not voting, which he correlates with the real problem of the incompetence of a thug-state run by buttinskies and power-worshiping lickspittles.

    what’s new?

    1. power-worshiping lickspittle….

      T o n y or Orsack?

      1. T o n y or Orsack?

        Yes.

  11. It really just never occurs to these idiots that if someone doesn’t love your party – forcing them to vote is not going to cause a sudden transformation. I know that’s what they all believe, I just don’t understand why.

  12. Shorter Orszag: Team Blue has more members than Team Red, but Team Blue sometimes gets beaten because Team Red has a higher turn-out rate. The solution to this “problem” is simple: Make everyone vote, at gunpoint if necessary.

  13. Orzag is just a hack. He doesn’t believe a word of this. HE would like compulsive voting right up until the voters gave him a result he didn’t like.

    1. Yeah, if the left ever lost it’s propaganda momopoly in the education system, they would reverse course on this immediatly.

  14. Peter Orszag, vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup and former director of the Office of Management and Budget, wants to make voting mandatory for all of-age Americans.

    No way I’m gonna legitimize the brutal shit politicians are doing to me by participating in the election process by which they claim their legitimacy.

    The only people who have a right to complain are the people who don’t vote.

    No, wining a popularity contest among you and your friends does not give you the right to do whatever you want to me and my paycheck.

    P.S. Screw you.

    1. Well said.

    2. What he said.

  15. California’s jury pool includes everyone with a driver’s license or DMV ID. This was enacted back in the ’60s, for the express purpose of preventing people from avoiding jury service by not registering to vote.

  16. Always been against compulsory voting on the grounds that not voting is a democratic choice people should be free to make.

    But voting should be made as easy as possible. Anyone advocating bureaucratic barriers to voting, especially ones meant to solve imaginary problems, is an enemy of freedom.

    1. You do know that a young white fellow from nowhere near Georgetown was recently offered Attorney General Eric Holder’s primary ballot, do you not?

      Is that an “imaginary problem?”

    2. For once I agree with T o n y except I still want to repeal the 20th amendment.

      1. Funny how Tony disingenuously suggests we are in favor of a libertarian dictatorship, while his Team labors day and night to create one of their own.

      2. Why do you want to move inauguration day back to March?

  17. http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor…..gator+gar/

    Biggest nastiest looking fish ever.

    1. That is the most awesome fishing story ever told. Dog v. Fish in man-tug-o-war, awesome. Having to call a friend with a gun while you are on top of the fish to kill it, awesome.

      Badass.

  18. As a libertarian, I believe that if something is good, people will gravitate toward it. Statists like Orzag seem to think that if something is good, it has to be mandated.

    1. PS: Democracy is not good.

      1. Years ago (I think it was 2004), my kids’ elementary school held an “election” on the day of the Presidential election to decide between Skittles and Reese’s Pieces. Skittles won by one vote, the proud prinipal told me, and kids got to understand participatory democracy.

        I was horrified. I told her that the kids learned exactly the wrong lesson: That elections are meaningless. If she had really wanted to teach them a lesson about democracy, the following day anyone found with Reese’s Pieces would have them confiscated and would be suspended. Lockers would be opened, lunch pails searched for the democratically-determined contraband.

        And **then** the real lesson would be learned: Not everything should be fodder for politics.

        1. Tyranny of the majority = best thing ever!!!! Shut your granny-hating mouth, Brutus!1!!11!!!

          1. We just held a vote. Men in Mao suits are coming to beat you senseless until you realize how super-duper voting on everythig is.

  19. From Reason, May 2000:

    “I don’t mean to suggest that Barber is dissembling when he declares a passion for democracy. Just the reverse: He is passionate to a fault. Love is elevated and ennobling but, as we all know, it can be blind. In the throes of passion one is inclined to see the beloved object as one wishes it to be, not as it really is. Love frequently is possessive, demanding reciprocation and exclusivity. When spurned it lashes out vindictively. Benjamin Barber courts an electorate that persistently rejects his embrace and instead obdurately holds onto its own affections. It thereby shows itself unworthy to be the object of devotion of so ardent a lover. But rather than acquiesce in rejection and give up the chase, the swain will turn the tables, transform the drab voter-consumer into beauteous citizen, and once and for all win her favors–if not through seduction then by rape.”

    https://reason.com/archives/200…..le-passion

  20. BTW Tim, you do know you’re not supposed to put X’s over Democrats in pictures. The next time some loon shoots a democrat they’re going to blame you.

    1. And they will say those X’s are rifle cross-hairs.

  21. Making voting mandatory would just make the electorate more predictable. You don’t want the political class to have a predictable electorate. They should live in fear of drawing the attention of the nominal non-voter.

  22. I can’t believe I let this thread go so long without posting this.

  23. So he went from Zeitgeist socialist:

    To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions. In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic.

    To totalitarian Commie in just a few months. IIRC, not even the Nazis required voting by eligible voters.

  24. Why stop at voting? Why not make it mandatory that you must participate in a violent revolution every four years if Orzag thinks political participation is so goddamn important.

    1. “Violent Revolution” is only allowed for Angela Davis, David Weigel, and the weaponry lottery winners of Fast and Furious. The rest of us have to sit by and watch.

  25. “Finally, you’re only required to do jury duty if you register to vote (ymmv). ”

    I think its more every adult citizen is required to do jury duty (if called) but the local governments tend to only use the voter registration rolls since those are about the only ones that are vetted for both age and citizenship

    1. I actually want to do jury duty – I never have before and I want to get my nullification on.

      1. Dude just register to vote in PA, fuck man I’m up for the second time in as many years next week. They must be desperate, because they picked me after I told them that I wouldn’t convict on drugs and that I didn’t trust the police to tell the truth on the stand. I wasn’t trying to get out of it, I was just telling the truth because I am a terrible liar.

        It was a really interesting experience. My case was a barfight where some lady broke a beer bottle over a guy’s head and he pushed her down. Of course he was the one to get charged. She said he hit her multiple times but he was like six-six and 300 pounds and she had narry a mark on her in the post event pics. He, meanwhile was all fucked up from the bottle.

        I was an alternate so I got to leave early, but there was a guy to call to find out the verdict if you were interested. I called and the dude was found not guilty.

        Being a juror is awesome, because nobody wants to piss you off you’re like the courtroom VIPs.

        1. In the WA county that I’m registered in, I got called once – they just have the pool call in M-F in the morning to see if their number has to come in. Since I’m military posted away from there, I’m naturally not going to be appearing for a jury duty summons. I don’t want to do it badly enough to give up my 0% state income tax rate by registering were I live.

        2. To quote the Honorable Chuck White (local retired judge) ‘The hardest part of being a judge is keeping a straight face when a police officer gives testimony.’

        3. Lawyer: “You would surely never get into a fight over something silly like the pronunciation of chowder.”

          Freddy Q: “It’s chowduh! Chowduh! Say it right! I’ll kill you! I’ll kill all of you! Especially those of you on the jury!”

  26. I’d just keep doing what I already do – vote LP for President and write in Harry S. McGee for the rest.

    1. Harry S. McGee, the leader of the Nazi chapter of NAMBLA? What is wrong with you?

  27. Notice how he is not advocating Australia’s voting systems. Its Senate is elected at-large within each state using single transferable voting(a form of proportional representation). The lower house only elects one member per district but the voter gets to also rank the candidates in order of preference. Also the ballot access laws are much easier for parties and independents. No, if we adopted those systems of voting too many non-Democrats and Republicans would get elected – nevermind.

    1. Eric, it would be interesting to see how many of the voters that Demorat activist groups sign up and deliver to the polls would fare under single transferable voting (or Hare-Clark as I note below).

      You really have to think about who is on the ballot before you can “vote the quota”. Any failure to do so gets your vote rejected as “informal”.

  28. Typical Team-ism:

    Everything that is not forbidden, is proscribed.

    1. Proscribed means forbidden, dude. /pedant

      1. I know. It’s a SubGenius saying. It’s supposed to sound that way.

  29. So under mandatory voting dou you get fined for “casting a frivolous ballot” if you write in Mickey Mouse or “Fuck Off, Slaver”?

    If they did make voting mandatory I would probably enjoy not voting as protest more than I do actually voting now. It has got to the point where I only go to the polls for contested GOP primaries and to vote against SPLOSTs, State constitutional amendments, and bond referendums

    1. Hell, writing in fake names gets you love from Team Blue. No way that’s gonna be illegal.

    2. SIV, in Australia there are no write-in ballots. The feature of the “Australian Ballot” (which in many of its forms has had widespread adoption even in the country) is that there is an official ballot which lists the name of “official” candidates.

      As I note below, there is no penalty for “spoiling” your ballot. The other feature (the main one) of the “Australian Ballot” is that it is secret.

      The only consequence of writing “Fuck you” or any other failure to record an official candidate (or failing to “vote the quota”) is having your vote recorded and announced as “informal”.

      1. In case any of you didn’t know, the idea to make voting secret is an Australian one. Until the late 1800s voting in the US and Britain was public.

        The secret ballot was copied from the colony of South Australia, both by the rest of the Australian colonies (which later became the states of Australia) and most of the rest of the world where elections were held.

      2. But then if you had thought before you wrote your moronic post there is no way for the state to determine who cast a “frivolous” or any other kind of ballot.

  30. Always a good idea to put big red X’s on pictures of government workers. Expect a call from the Secret Service.

    1. Erm…you must not get out much. The X’s are on FORMER government “workers”.

      As in, used to be part of Obama’s White House.

      Libertardian: putting the “tard” in libertarian since 1999..or somesuch.

      1. True. We left it to the Palins to put crosshairs on members of Congress.

  31. If this stupid proposal were carried out, would the networks cover how many of the ballots had “Fuck You!” scrawled across them?

    Or would someone be standing over you while you were dawdling in the voting booth, yelling “Choose, goddamn you!”?

  32. The so-called paradox of voting, highlighted in a 1957 book by the political scientist Anthony Downs, occurs because the probability that any individual voter can alter the outcome of an election is effectively zero.

    Depends on the size of the electorate. I recently cast the deciding vote in an election — my NOTA vote for LP Chair in Vegas meant Rutherford got exactly 50.0% of the vote, not 50.0% plus 1, resulting in him being defeated.

  33. There are actually many things worth emulating about Australian election practices but compulsory voting is not one of them,

    Preferential voting, or the “instant runoff” is one of them. Hare system proportional representation as is the practice for electing the Lower House or Legislative Assembly in Tasmania is another.

    One of the “good” things that compulsory voting is OZ results in is that “informal ballots” ie ballots which do not record a vote or which fail to “vote the quota” in the case of Tasmania’s Hare-Clark system must be recorded and announced. Now many of these “informal ballots” are a consequence of idiots who don;’t know how to vote but many are due to a some voters voting NOTA.

    It’s worth remembering that voting in and of itself is not compulsory in OZ, It is attendance at the polls that is. Many voters choose not to vote for the prescribed choices.

  34. If you choose not to decide,
    You’ve still have made a choice

  35. In truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, even for the time being. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having ever been asked, a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practise this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self-defence, he attempts the former.

  36. His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man attempts to take the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot — which is a mere substitute for a bullet — because, as his only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency, into which he had been forced by others, and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him.

    -Lysander Spooner

    1. the ballot — which is a mere substitute for a bullet

      You don’t need the bullet when you got the ballot. Are you up for the down stroke, C.C.?

      Chocolate City.

      1. whoa, close tag

  37. Funny how his new idea completely opposes his bright idea of 2011, no doubt he will come up with more brilliant solutions in the coming years, except for the one where someone like him is actually the problem not the solution.

  38. Sometime you jsut have to throw your hands in the air and shout, Whos your Daddy!

    http://www.Fresh-Anon.tk

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.