Ha ha, just kidding! People in the U.S. don’t vote. In the 2004 Presidential election less than 43% of eligible voters voted (U.S. census reports). This is down from the 69% who voted in 1964 (source: Bill Moyers). (That was a “high” point. Hey, it was the 1960s.) Not hearing from a huge segment of the population makes for insiders and outsiders: those who vote and are heard and those who don’t vote and are not heard.
Me, I am not a politician, an expert, an analyst. I know nothing about politics or experts or anything else. That said, I’m an American and I have an opinion: I want to hear from our whole citizenry. So. Here we are, here are two straightforward steps for overcoming this little voting problem-issue thingie.
- Automatically Enable Every Adult Citizen To Vote
No exceptions. No loopholes. No complications. Do away with current voting registration practices like the need to register, then reregister when moving to a new town. (There’s nothing worse then going to the polls only to find you’re not registered in that precinct and so cannot vote.) Register once, vote forever. (Or at least until death or revoking of citizenship.) By “register” I of course mean “turn 18.” It should be that automatic. And do away with voting on weekdays, when people work: either make voting on weekends or make voting day a holiday. And remove any perceived reward for not voting; like now, people who don’t register to vote cannot be called for jury service. Do away with that; make it mandatory that every adult take part in jury selection service. (A jury of our peers, for heaven’s sake.) Voters should be able to just show up at the polls, show a common form of valid ID, an address, and vote.
- Make Voting Mandatory
Mandatory? Why, that’s crazy! Is it? Young men who turn 18 are automatically “empowered” to register for the draft, even if they don’t wanna. In fact, by not registering, these individuals possessing Y chromosomes need to cough up $250,000. It’s the law. So registering for Selective Service is like saving a quarter of a million bucks. Money in the bank. If adult citizens were likewise empowered to vote, 100% of our democracy would vote. Having to pay a fee for not voting, even the cost of a fancy dinner at Taco Bell, would be enough to get us out there voting. The Federal government could name it something catchy like Governmental Mandated Opinionated Public Service (GMOPS). (Australia’s been doing it since 1924, despite calling it boring old Compulsory Voting.) Plus the government would make extra cash, which it always appreciates.