Choosing not to vote is also a legitimate choice in a free society, Sen. Marco Rubio said late Wednesday, blasting President Barack Obama for endorsing mandatory voting laws.
"Here's the point he refuses to point out or that he misses: Not voting is also a legitimate choice that some people make," said the Florida Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate on Fox News' "Hannity"
show, reports The Hill
. "I wish more people would participate in politics, too, but that is their choice. That is the choice of living in a free society."
Earlier on Wednesday, Obama commented during a speech in Cleveland
that countries like Australia have mandatory voting, and that if everyone voted it would change the political landscape.
"It would be transformative if everybody voted, that would counteract money more than anything," Obama said. "If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country, because the people who tend not to vote are young; they're lower income; they're skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups; and they're often the folks who are — they're scratching and climbing to get into the middle class."
But Rubio, when asked about the mandatory voting issue, said he would not put "anything past" Obama as "there are a lot of things that have already happened that I never thought I would see."
Obama made the comments while discussing enhanced voting rights after the 50th anniversary of the march on Selma, and said there are still "some folks" who try to keep minorities and other groups from voting.
And even if mandatory voting never happens, Obama said, the United States should still try to expanding voting access and make it easier, not harder, to vote.
Further, in his Cleveland remarks, the president said it would be "fun" if the United States considered a constitutional amendment that reduces the role money plays in elections, but to do that would take a long time to take effect.
Approximately two dozen countries, including Brazil, Belgium, and Argentina, have compulsory voting, reports Fox News
. In most cases, those who do not vote must either provide a valid excuse or face fines, and in some countries, non-voters could face potential jail sentences.
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