SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A new proposal is heading to the assembly floor that would force registered voters in California to cast a ballot — or else.
Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) introduced AB 2070 on Tuesday which would require all eligible California voters to vote in every election. The law would be enforced by the Secretary of State.
But, the half-page piece of legislation neglects to suggest any repercussions should you choose not to vote. In a press release, Levine wrote in part, “California is a national leader on expanding voting rights to its citizens… This is not a time to be complacent at the ballot box.”
The lack of consequences laid out in the bill have left a lot of questions unanswered.
Mike Heller of Sacramento doesn’t think voting should be compulsory.
“Everybody should vote. I don’t think everybody should be forced to vote,” Heller said.
Law professor John Myers broke down the legality of the proposed law.
“One of the fundamental problems with doing that is that it is a massive, in my judgment, invasion of our fundamental right to exercise or not exercise our right to vote,” Myers said. “Some democracies in the world do require people to vote. It has never been an idea that’s caught on in the United States.”
Rachel Pyle studied abroad in Argentina for three months, where there is a compulsory voting law. She says the fine for not voting did not seem to make much of a difference.
“If people didn’t want to vote it’s just a $10 fine and it didn’t really matter either way,” Pyle said.
Other countries, including Brazil and Belgium, also fine citizens who do not vote.
But, Assemblymember Levine is hopeful that the bold move will get more people to the ballot box, writing in part: “Democracy is not a spectator sport – it requires the active participation of all its citizens.”
Despite the assemblymember’s enthusiasm, it seems to be a hard pass across the board for the voting public CBS13 spoke with.