Kate Julian: Let’s make voting required – Monterey Herald

Posted by Henry Taksier, June 12, 2010

To the short list of life’s certainties, William Galston wants to add one more: voting.

His Brookings Institution report argues that to combat the nation’s growing political polarization, a few willing states should experiment with compulsory voting. If you don’t vote, you pay.

Right now, Galston asserts, those who are motivated to vote tend to be disproportionately discontented and, not coincidentally, disproportionately partisan. Meanwhile, those who are less angry (read: more moderate) don’t feel they are well represented by the system, so they stay home.

What if we could break this vicious circle by nudging these people — those who are less moved by anger and loathing — to vote? For one thing, Galston writes, politicians’ habit of “continually tossing red meat to the party faithful might become a little less pervasive.”

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