Tag: civil liberties

The progressive case against compulsory voting

President Barack Obama recently announced that he supports making voting in the United States compulsory for those who are legally eligible to vote.

I know that I’m going to get a lot of flack from my fellow progressives over this, but I’m opposed to the idea of compulsory voting, in which people who are eligible to vote are legally required to do so.

While Republicans and conservatives oppose compulsory voting because it would likely benefit Democrats electorally, my opposition is for a completely different reason: I believe that compulsory voting violates the civil liberties of the American people. Yes, I’m opposing compulsory voting for the same reason I oppose, among other things, spying on the American people without a warrant and laws that restrict a woman’s right to make reproductive health decisions for herself.

While I strongly support amending the U.S. Constitution to give all U.S. citizens who are at least 18 years of age a constitutionally-protected right to vote, I believe that, while it would probably not be necessary to explicitly state this in a constitutional amendment or other type of law (I’m not an attorney, and I don’t claim to be one, but I’m guessing that the U.S. Constitution would probably have to be amended in order to allow for compulsory voting), those who are legally eligible to vote in this country should have a right to not vote if, for whatever reason, they don’t want to vote. While I believe that voting is a very important civic duty, and I would never discourage anyone from voting, I oppose the idea of forcing people to vote, as doing so would violate the civil liberties of those who decide not to vote.

Make no mistake about it, I strongly support many other measures to provide the American people with increased access to voting and make their vote actually matter, such as replacing the Electoral College with national popular vote presidential elections, restoring and strengthening the Voting Rights Act, implementing automatic voter registration, allowing same-day voter registration, making redistricting non-partisan and completely independent of state legislatures and other legislative bodies, making Election Day a national holiday, repealing the odious Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court decision via a federal constitutional amendment designed to get big money out of politics, having election authorities pay for postage on absentee ballots so that voters don’t have to pay for postage themselves, making it easier for candidates to get on the ballot, and requiring that elections be conducted in a fair, professional manner in order to allow those who are eligible and willing to vote to cast their ballots and to allow all votes to be properly counted. Additionally, I strongly oppose measures to suppress the vote and make America less democratic, such as voter ID laws and gerrymandering. However, I’m not going to support anything that violates the civil liberties of the American people.

Advertisements

Canadians protest against bill to allow secret police to spy on political opponents of far-right Canadian government

According to a recent poll by Forum Research, 50% of Canadian voters oppose Bill C-51, proposed Canadian legislation that, among other things, allows Canadian spying agencies the power to spy on and infiltrate pro-environment organizations, First Nations (i.e., indigenous people of Canada), and opponents of current and proposed oil pipelines. The legislation is supported by far-right Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who leads the Conservative Party of Canada.

Opposition to Bill C-51, which has been referred to by political opponents of Harper as the “secret police bill”, is growing every day all across Canada. Dozens of protests in opposition to the secret police bill were held last weekend in numerous Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Edmonton. That’s because the secret police bill would, if enacted, violate the civil liberties of Canadians, especially those who don’t believe in Stephen Harper’s destructive political agenda.

Harper and the Conservatives aren’t the only supporters of the Canadian secret police bill. Justin Trudeau, who leads the Liberal Party of Canada, would support the secret police bill if provisions requiring oversight of spying and infiltrating operations are added to the legislation. This has led to significant left-wing opposition to Trudeau and the Liberals at a time when they’re in a position to possibly win a plurality of seats in the Canadian House of Commons in the parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year:

The poll results also revealed that while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau supports C-51 with “added parliamentary oversight,” a majority of Liberal voters nationally (66 per cent) disapprove of the bill.

“This poll should also prompt Justin Trudeau to reconsider his stance,” said OpenMedia spokesperson David Christopher. OpenMedia is one of the organizations invited to speak before a committee hearing in Ottawa about C-51.

“With over two-thirds of his party’s supporters opposing this legislation, isn’t it time Justin Trudeau showed he can listen to Canadians, instead of backing government attempts to ram this extreme legislation through Parliament at breakneck pace?”

Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau believe that Canadians who care about protecting the environment are a bunch of terrorists. That’s simply not true, and the fact that Harper, Trudeau, and their ilk to support spying on and infiltrating Canadians who oppose Harper’s anti-environment agenda is absolutely disgusting.