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Should we make voting mandatory?

In the 2016 election, only about 6 in 10 eligible voters cast ballots and turnout was especially low for voters under 30. Some countries, like Australia, increase voter turnout by making it mandatory. Prominent activists, academics, and lawmakers say that mandatory voting will strengthen our democracy, while others remark that the right to vote also includes the right not to vote.


What Would Change If More People Voted

On The Sidelines Of Democracy: Exploring Why So Many Americans Don't Vote

Additional resources to think about

Why is voter turnout so low in the U.S.?
Low voter turnout in the United States has confounded politicians, activists and academics seeking to reverse a trend that puts the country behind many of the world’s developed nations in participation at the polls.

Episode 9: Should we make voting mandatory?
Host Toussaint Morrison follows up on his video about mandatory voting by bringing the question to the Minnesota State Fair to discuss compulsory voting with a live audience. He’s joined by Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, Joseph Mansky, elections manager for Ramsey County and moderator David Gillette. (Scroll down to episode 9)


Who created this message?

  • What kind of “text” is it?
  • How similar or different is it to others of the same genre?
  • What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?


What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

  • What do you notice (about the way the message is constructed)?
  • What’s the emotional appeal?
  • What makes it seem “real?”
  • Are there any symbols? Persuasive devices used?

How might different people understand this message differently from me?

  • How many other interpretations could there be?
  • How could we hear about them?
  • How can you explain the different responses?

What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

  • What type of person is the reader/watcher/listener invited to identify with?
  • What ideas or perspectives are left out?
  • How would you find what’s missing?
  • What judgments or statements are made about how we treat other people?


Why is this message being sent?

  • What's being sold in this message? What's being told? 
  • Who is served by or  benefits from the message
    – the public?
    – private interests?
    – individuals?
    – institutions?

5 Key Questions of Media Literacy used with permission from the Center for Media Literacy.
Copyright 2002-2021, Center for Media Literacy,


Should we make voting mandatory?

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