E.J. Dionne on "100% Democracy": Why voting should be mandatory
Primary elections in Maryland have been delayed until July 19. Last week, a judge in Anne Arundel County Circuit court rejected the lines for new Congressional districts drawn by Democrats in the MD General Assembly. This morning, Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson introduced a new map to a joint hearing of the Senate and House of Delegates. Judge Lynne Battaglia, whose ruling last week called the original map “an extreme partisan gerrymander,” has scheduled a hearing for Friday morning to consider the new district boundaries.
There is an assumption that whenever the primaries are held, and in the general election in November, turnout will be light. The turnout in midterm elections tend to hover around 41%, less than in Presidential contests, and this year, the effects of new voting laws may also serve to suppress turnout.
In response to Donald Trump’s fabrications about his not losing the 2020 election, 19 states have passed laws that make it harder to cast a ballot.
But what happens to the foundations of democracy when political leaders are elected by only a fraction of the citizens they serve?
Tom's guest today is E.J. Dionne. He has co-authored a persuasive and compelling book that makes the argument for mandatory participation in elections. It’s been the law for years in Australia and about two dozen other countries, and it’s an idea that has garnered support from many people, including President Barack Obama.
E.J. Dionne is a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a professor at Georgetown University and the author of several books. He’s also been a wonderful friend of this show over the years. His co-author is Miles Rapaport, the Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School. He’s also a former secretary of state of Connecticut.
Their book is called 100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting.
E.J. Dionne joins us on Zoom.
You are welcome to join us as well…call us at 410.662.8780. email: [email protected]. Tweet us: @MiddayWYPR
Co-authors E.J. Dionne and Miles Rapoport will be appearing at an event sponsored by the Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University this afternoon at 4:30pm, and again at an event at Greedy Reads in Remington tonight at 7:00pm. Click the "event" links for more information.