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Independent Response: Voting Incentives?

by Jane Susskind, published

This primary season, many states across the nation reported low voter turnout and the disengagement of voters from the democratic process. Voters were unenthusiastic to get to the polls and cast a ballot in the Republican primary, and even Republicans were dissatisfied with their potential presidential nominees. The general election is not looking much better, with general voter sentiment low and dissatisfaction high. Voters are frustrated with their options, and many who were adamant Obama supporters in 2008 have lost faith and motivation.

Noticing this downward trend in voter enthusiasm, IVN contributor Heather Rogers asked earlier this week:

Why vote anyway? Besides gaining some vague sense of having done your civic duty, is it worth the time and effort? The probability that your vote would determine the outcome of an important election is beyond improbable. So your vote doesn’t really matter, or does it?

The article continues to lay out possible incentives that might motivate American citizens to fulfill their civic duty of voting, including a penalty from abstaining on election day, a lottery type incentive, and tax refunds. Since our theme this week is "Public Opinion," we asked independent voters on Facebook what they thought of voting incentives.

Below are the seven best arguments for and against voting incentives:

In Favor of Incentives 

Greg Bard: Fines for not voting.

Anthony Marion: Election Day ought to be a national holiday. Or maybe elections could be held over the two day weekend.

Dennis Jacques: How about: If you miss voting in an election, you cannot vote in that election the next time, that is, you must wait for the second time around. For instance, if you miss your state's presidential primary, you may not vote in the next presidential primary (in four years) but must wait for the second primary in eight years.

Jodi Ehrlich: a $50 or higher fine the 1st time you do not vote- more each time ! Other countries fine for not voting

Independent Workers of America Labor Association (IWALA): How about $15 to vote, as in paying voters to vote, no questions and no choice. Compulsory voting and if found to be a non voter $100 fine to be deducted by IRS form taxes.

Leo Zicc: How about a voting receipt with a get out of jury duty free pass and make all the people that don't vote do jury duty.

It should be only on a Saturday, declared a national holiday, and a requirement to allow time off to go vote. 

Dave MacDonald: 

Not In Favor of Incentive 

Rebecca Fischer: This is a free country. Nobody should make somebody else vote (not even with incentives and especially not with fines.) However, we should encourage one another to exercise our right to vote.

Chad Anderson: Bribing people to participate in a rigged/broken system is ridiculous! What would be worse would be to try to force them to vote. I'm sorry, but Obama doesn't appeal to me at all, and Mitt pisses me off worse than Obama. I'm not going to be told "You have to vote" when none of the people on the ballot are anywhere near worthy of my vote. We have the RIGHT to vote but it is not MANDATED.

Alex Sawyer: I'd rather have an informed electorate than a high turnout of people who really have no idea what they're voting for.

Nanson Hwa: Voting is a right but also a choice to vote or not to vote. People choose not to vote because they are either apathetic, apolitical or feel the issues are irrelevant to their lives.

Meredith Tsunehara: The people who don't vote, probably shouldn't

Bruce Stevens: There is enough vote buying. If you don't want to vote. You shouldn't have to. Give me a choice worth voting for.

NO incentive! It is a right to vote, if they decide NOT to exercise that right then that is their problem. 

Lee Carmickle: 

Didn't get a chance to respond? Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section!

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