Obama Criticizes Difficulty of Voting in U.S.: ‘Australia Has Got Mandatory Voting’

By CNSNews.com Staff | April 8, 2016 | 4:52 PM EDT

(Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) - Speaking at the University of Chicago Law School yesterday, President Barack Obama criticized what he described as the difficulty of voting in the United States of America.

“We really are the only advanced democracy on Earth that systematically and purposely makes it really hard for people to vote,” he said.

“Maybe the single biggest change that we could make in our political process that would reduce some of the polarization, make people feel more invested, restore integrity to the system, would be just make sure everybody is voting,” said Obama. “Australia has got mandatory voting. You start getting 70-80 percent voting rates, that's transformative.”

Here is an excerpt from President Obama’s presentation where he discussed the difficulty of voting in the United States:

And then, political participation issues and voting issues I think, and money in politics issues -- that's a whole series of issues that I do believe are an important role for the Court to play.  Because if we're not effectively setting the rules of the political process, if that is delegitimized, then whatever outcomes are generated are subject to just endless contention. 

And this is separate from the judiciary.  This is your President editorializing.  We really are the only advanced democracy on Earth that systematically and purposely makes it really hard for people to vote.  And we sort of take it for granted.  I mean, we sort of just assume, yeah, that's I guess how it is.  There’s no other country on Earth that does that.  And there’s a legacy to that that grows directly out of a history in which first property men, then white men, then white folks didn’t want women, minorities to participate in the political process and be able to empower themselves in that fashion.

Now, that's the history.  We should be a society in which, at this point, we said, yeah, that history wasn’t so good, that's not who we are, and there was a Civil War fought about all this stuff, and we passed a whole series of laws like the Voting Rights Act, and at this point we should be at the point where we say, you know what, we want everybody to vote because that's the essence of our democracy.  But we have not just federal laws, but state laws, that unabashedly discourage people from voting -- which is why we have some of the lowest voting rates of any advanced democracy in the world. 

And that's a problem.  That's not something that -- I'm saying that to Congress, as well as to the presidency, as well as to governors, as well as state legislators, as well as to courts. That can't be right!  There’s no justification for that!  You can't defend it! 

And I've always said--and this goes back to the young man’s question earlier about political polarization--maybe the single biggest change that we could make in our political process that would reduce some of the polarization, make people feel more invested, restore integrity to the system, would be just make sure everybody is voting.  Australia has got mandatory voting.  You start getting 70-80 percent voting rates, that's transformative.