A surfer walks along posters of local candidate for Liberal Party Malcolm Turnbull on the morning of the Federal Election day at Bondi beach in Sydney, September 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Daniel Munoz)

Blog Post

Is Compulsory Voting a Solution to America's Low Voter Turnout and Political Polarization?

December 4, 2014, Fred Dews

Eligible voter turnout in the recent 2014 midterm elections has been estimated at 36.2 percent, the lowest since 1942. Voter participation in non-presidential election years is traditionally low, with the most partisan members of the electorate most likely to cast ballots. Voter turnout in U.S. presidential elections generally comes in at between 50 and 60 percent of the voting-age population. Some observers of U.S. politics make the case that low voter turnout results in more polarization and less legislative compromise. Is compulsory, or mandatory, voting the answer? Brookings experts offer their ideas and recommendations.