The Right Not to Vote?
(Disclaimer: The following post deals partially in the realm of fantasy.) (Crossposted)
The city of Annapolis has elections in off years: the last general election was in 2005 and the next is in 2009. As it were, this situation causes horribly low turnout in city-wide elections. In the special elections this past January, turnout was somewhere in the 25-30% range, and it doesn’t get much better for ordinary city elections.
The city Republican Central Committee has spent much time trying to figure out what it takes to get people interested anymore. Most quality of life issues for Annapolis citizens are directed by the city government: police, fire, trash, water, and property taxes to name a few. Why don’t people care—are they too busy? Do they think city politics don’t affect them? Maybe the answer is less complicated than perhaps we anticipate, but the lack of general citizenry participation in elections is as baffling as the Sportscenter series “Who’s Now?” on ESPN.
(Note to readers: ESPN tells us that Tiger Woods is the athlete that is the most “now”.)
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To fix this problem, some have suggested moving the city elections to align with national elections. This makes perfect sense to AP, which is precisely why AP thinks that it will never happen.
So, allow me to offer an alternative solution. Pursuant to the “follow the money” line of reasoning, I propose that people who don’t vote in any given election have to pay double the property and income taxes in comparison to those who voted. They would pay this “penalty rate” until the next time they voted. You don’t have to vote for a candidate if you don’t want to–if you think they all stink equally you can show up and vote for nobody. Every person would be given a certain amount of exceptions to accommodate for real emergencies, with younger people getting more total exceptions because they have more elections upcoming in their lifetime. You can use your exceptions whenever you want, but use them wisely!! If you cry wolf by using an exception when you don’t need one, you cannot use it at a later date!
Normally I would be opposed to such gross inequity, but all one has to do to avoid such a penalty is vote ONCE EVERY TWO YEARS–something that we should be doing anyway as citizens.
This would also force government to be frugal, as they wouldn’t know how much money they were getting.
The right to free political speech, as expressed by voting, is a fundamental component of freedom. The voters who recognize this are massively frustrated by others who just don’t care to vote for whatever reason, as the true will of the people can sometimes go unrepresented. This outrageous proposal that I have just offered would solve the problem, and if it didn’t, at least those of us who vote could pay very little taxes because those who didn’t vote would bear the bulk of the burden.
As I said in a recent post, the Republican party is the party of ideas!