It is time for voting rights and democracy advocates to move away from defense and blaze a path toward universal participation in our experiment in self-government. In “100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting,” Brookings Senior Fellow EJ Dionne, Jr. and former Connecticut Secretary of the State Miles Rapoport argue that requiring everyone to participate in our elections should be a cornerstone of our democratic system. It would be the surest way to protect against voter suppression and the active disenfranchisement of a large share of our citizens. It would also create a system true to the aspirations written in the Declaration of Independence, by calling for a government based on the consent of all the governed.
With information on countries around the world that successfully required their citizens to vote, responses to key objections that have been raised against universal participation, legal analysis informed by a working group of scholars concluding that such a requirement would conform with the Constitution, and a sample bill that could be introduced in legislatures across the country, “100% Democracy” offers the most comprehensive argument to date for asking all Americans to help choose the people who will represent them.
On April 14, Janai Nelson of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund moderated a conversation with Dionne and Rapoport to discuss key takeaways from “100% Democracy,” universal voting, and the transformative steps lawmakers can take to increase turnout and make our elections truly representative.
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