May 27, 2006
The final vote on the American Idol show involved 63.4 million Americans voting, more votes than for any Presidential candidate in history. There is something deeply embarrassing to me about that fact.
It is especially embarrassing when you realize that the United States ranked 140th in the world in voter turnout in the last decade.
[Thanks to the website YVoteOnline for the chart]
If Americans really cared about having more people vote in our elections, there is one simple thing we can do -- open the polls on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday.
Australia and Belgium have compulsory voting and open their polls for two or three days. Their turnouts are over 90%.
I am not suggesting that we should make voting compulsory, although it might be worth considering. I do believe, however, that in the Greatest Democracy in the World, we ought to broaden the window of opportunity for voting and not make it so difficult for alot of people to exercise their vote.