Arbiter Online (Boise State University)
February 6th, 2012
By Cheyenne Perry
The political club known as Democracy Matters at Boise State University (DMBSU) held its first forum on the dining hall stage in the Student Union Building Wednesday evening.
DMBSU is a non-partisan, student-based organization that focuses on increasing student involvement with politics and “getting money out of politics.”
“We’re trying to provide a comfortable format for people to discuss politics because we feel that this campus is widely apathetic when it comes to politics … maybe we can work together to actually commit to some change,” DMBSU President Gus Voss said during the forum.
Amidst students surrounded by books, laptops and dinner, Voss introduced the four panelists seated on the stage—associate professor of the philosophy department, Stephen Crowley, Ph.D., senior Tyler Rayne, junior Bryce Dunham-Zemberi and senior Rialin Flores.
Each participant spoke his or her opinion regarding the current voting system and if (or how) it should be altered.
One topic discussed was compulsory voting, the system currently used by such countries as Australia which requires its citizens to vote. Crowley, who has experienced this system firsthand, was in favor of implementing compulsory voting in America. He debated requiring people to vote would put more emphasis on the importance of voting.
“In America, I can win an election by making my opponents’ supporters stay home,” Crowley said.
He thinks adapting compulsory voting would “fundamentally shift the nature of the political process.”
Flores expressed ideas of bridging the gap between politics and the normal life of an American citizen. She acknowledged the “disconnection between our daily struggles, our daily successes and the power of politics in those daily struggles and successes.”
Doubtful of compulsory voting at the beginning of the forum, Flores began to believe this kind of voting system might be an improvement to America.
Panelist Rayne wanted to eliminate the voting system completely. He felt voting would never completely be a fair process.
Rayne insisted Americans sacrifice their autonomy by participating in voting, and Dunham-Zemberi speculated on what would happen if Americans boycotted voting altogether.
A small audience of approximately 12 people listened to the panelists and some even participated in asking questions.
DMBSU plans to have at least three more forums this semester. These will occur Feb. 22, March 21 and April 18. Topics to be discussed at the future forums are education reform and money in politics.