Can Voting In Elections Be Mandated? Professor McDaniel Discusses

Monday, January 23, 2017
HOODLINE (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Jason McDaniel is an associate professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University. His research focuses on local city elections and ranked-choice voting. According to him, he doesn’t see mandatory voting taking root in the city. “The issue is that this would only work well if there are pretty strong penalties for non-compliance and pretty strong enforcement," McDaniel told us. Other countries that have compulsory voting laws, such as Australia and Brazil, fine citizens $20 for failing to vote, while other countries withhold certain government benefits. Voters not wanting to participate in elections can choose to cast blank ballots without being fined. “To really get the less-educated, the less-interested, and the less-engaged voters to vote here — the people who are habitually sitting out each election — they would have to have some fear of punishment,” McDaniel says.