The White House Thursday walked back President Obama’s comments in favor of mandatory voting in the U.S.
“The president was not making a specific policy prescription for the United States,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
At a town-hall event in Cleveland on Wednesday, Mr. Obama described compulsory voting as “a better strategy” in the short term than pushing for a Constitutional amendment to counter increased campaign spending in the U.S. since the Supreme Court’s ruling in the “Citizens United” case.
“It would be transformative if everybody voted,” Mr. Obama said during a town-hall event in Cleveland. “That would counteract [campaign] money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country.”
He mentioned Australia, which had mandatory voting and citizens can face a fine for not going to the polls, and said it was an example of the “creative ways” needed to counter money in politics.
Mr. Earnest said Mr. Obama was giving “a pretty open-ended answer” in response to a question about the impact of money in elections.
Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, slammed the notion of mandatory voting, noting the decision to skip an election is a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.