Speed Reads

Democracy in action

California lawmaker introduces bill making voting mandatory

If a California lawmaker has his way, registered voters in the state will be required to participate in every election.

On Tuesday, Assemblyman Marc Levine (D) introduced Assembly Bill 2070, making voting mandatory. "Democracy is not a spectator sport — it requires the active participation of all its citizens," Levine said in a statement. "California is a national leader on expanding voting rights to its citizens. Those rights come with a responsibility by registered voters to cast their ballot and make sure that their voice is heard by their government."

Under the measure, which isn't expected to be considered until the spring, the secretary of state would determine the penalty for not voting. This is an unprecedented bill, and should it go into law, it would likely be challenged in court, the Los Angeles Times says.

California's latest statewide report on elections found that there are more than 20.3 million registered voters in the state, with nearly two million more eligible to vote, but not registered. In recent years, voters have been coming out to the polls in higher numbers, with 64.5 percent of California's registered voters participating in the November 2018 election. This year, the state's primary was moved up to March 3, in order to encourage even more people to vote.