100% Democracy

The Case for Universal Voting

A timely and paradigm-shifting argument that all members of a democracy must participate in elections, by a leading political expert and Washington Post journalist

Americans are required to pay taxes, serve on juries, get their kids vaccinated, get driver’s licenses, and sometimes go to war for their country. So why not ask—or require—every American to vote?

In 100% Democracy, E.J. Dionne and Miles Rapoport argue that universal participation in our elections should be a cornerstone of our system. It would be the surest way to protect against voter suppression and the active disenfranchisement of a large share of our citizens. And it would create a system true to the Declaration of Independence’s aspirations by calling for a government based on the consent of all of the governed.

It’s not as radical or utopian as it sounds: in Australia, where everyone is required to vote (Australians can vote “none of the above,” but they have to show up), 91.9 percent of Australians voted in the last major election in 2019, versus 60.1 percent in America’s 2016 presidential race. Australia hosts voting-day parties and actively celebrates this key civic duty.

It is time for the United States to take a major leap forward and recognize voting as both a fundamental civil right and a solemn civic duty required of every eligible U.S. citizen.


“[100% Democracy] provides a strong base for beginning a consequential national discussion.”
Foreign Affairs
“In these times of crisis for democracy, it is time to think boldly about how we revitalize it. Universal civic duty voting, as E.J. Dionne and Miles Rapoport explain, would transform our system of elections.”
—Tova Wang, democracy fellow, Ash Center, Harvard Kennedy School
“In this short but powerful work, Dionne and Rapoport make a thoroughly convincing argument that voting should be both a right and a duty. At a time when one party is doing all it can to restrict the franchise, there is no book more vital to the ongoing struggle to achieve the true democracy we deserve.”
—Michael Kazin, professor of history, Georgetown University, and author of What It Took to Win
“A vital contribution to our ongoing discussion about democracy in America that persuasively argues that voting should not just be a right but a duty. The claim that the best answer to vote suppression and disenfranchisement is universal participation rests on data, history, and the urgent necessary for a democracy under serious challenge.”
—Caroline Fredrickson, former president, American Constitution Society, and author of The Democracy Fix
“In an era when most states have introduced some type of legislation restricting voting, empowering citizen participation must be protected as the cornerstone of democracy. The authors’ justification for inclusivity is potent and timely.”
“Dionne and Rapoport want us to think big, to envision a world where voting is easy and routine. They imagine a future built on civic participation and pride, rather than one built on democratic subversion. Theirs is a compelling case for a radical idea, one that might even have deep skeptics shrugging and asking, why not?”
The Washington Post
“Sometimes the most complicated problems have the simplest answers, and in this inspiring, direct, and fast-paced book, Rapoport and Dionne make a slam-dunk case for universal voting.”
—Zephyr Teachout, associate professor of law, Fordham University School of Law, and author of Break ’Em Up
“Brilliantly demonstrates the profound crisis already facing American democracy—one that the 2020 election demonstrated rather than resolved—and shows us the way out: a path that means more democracy, rather than succumbing to a fear of the people. Drawing inspiration from both foreign and local experiences, Dionne and Rapoport offer a clear and insightful blueprint not just for where to get to—but how to get there. A brilliant and necessary contribution.”
—Aziz Huq, Frank and Bernice J. Greenberg Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School, and co-author (with Tom Ginsburg) of How to Save a Constitutional Democracy
“As the great Progressive reformer Jane Addams once said, ‘The cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.’ In their thought-provoking and timely new book, Dionne and Rapoport explain how universal voting can help us achieve a more truly representative and inclusive democracy.”
—John F. Kowal, vice president of programs, Brennan Center for Justice, and co-author (with Wilfred Codrington III) of The People’s Constitution
“A persuasive argument for mandatory voting. . . . Backed by copious data and a firm grasp of the legislative process, this is a cogent call for rethinking the electoral process.”
Publishers Weekly

News and Reviews

Washington Post

Read an op-ed adapted from 100% Democracy which makes the case for why the U.S. should require universal participation in our elections.

Publishers Weekly

Read a review of 100% Democracy in Publishers Weekly.

Goodreads Reviews