Miles Rapoport and state senator Will Haskell will discuss whether it is time for the United States to take the leap and recognize voting as both a fundamental civil right and a civic duty. In 100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting, co-authors E.J. Dionne and Miles Rapoport argue that every citizen has the right to vote and full opportunities to do so—but also the duty to vote, a requirement to participate in our national choices. Twenty-six countries around the world require participation in elections including Australia, which has required citizens to cast a ballot since 1924 and had over 90% voter turnout in their last major election. The U.S. on the other hand lags behind other democracies, with only 66.8% of eligible voters participating in the record-turnout election of 2020. If Americans are required to pay taxes and serve on juries, why not ask—or require—every American to vote?
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Miles Rapoport is the Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School. He formerly served in the Connecticut state legislature and as Connecticut’s secretary of the state. He also served as president of Demos and of Common Cause.
Will Haskell was elected in 2018 to represent seven towns in the Connecticut State Senate. In the Senate, Will serves as the Chair of the Transportation Committee and the Vice Chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee. His spent his first term focusing on college affordability, transportation improvements, and voting rights. In 2019, he helped create Connecticut’s free community college program, so that every high school graduate has an opportunity to pursue a degree.
Community Partner: League of Women Voters of Westport