That’s right. An actual way to preserve all voting rights and guarantee the validity of every vote
I know a lot of people who are going to think that I finally took a dive off the deep end after reading this, but that’s okay. Maybe they’re right. But then again, maybe I’m on to something here. Make no mistake, what I’m about to suggest is more than a little bit ‘radical’, even by my standards.
That’s because, on the surface at least, the very concept of government-involved voting regulation goes against everything I’ve ever stood for as a combat veteran of the US Army and devout patriot from a long line of Army combat veterans.
So what is this pseudo-insane concept I’m here to propose? Actually, the concept itself isn’t new. In fact, it’s currently being used in daily practice by thirteen different countries around the world. What’s new about this plan — aside from it being mine, thereby automatically making it better — is the repercussions I suggest our government implement for people who refuse to participate.
If you haven’t guessed already, Yes, I’m talking about the concept of compulsory voting. If you don’t know what that is, no problem, that’s what I’m here for. In simple terms, compulsory, or mandatory voting as it’s called in some instances, means the government installs a set of federal voting laws making it not just our right to vote in elections, but our obligation.
Sound scary? Believe me, I completely understand. But, the purpose of writing this is to try to explain that, while compulsory voting, in its present forms, is employed in over a dozen countries around the world, it doesn’t have to be as draconian as it seems to those of us who have never been exposed to it.
At the time of this writing, there are thirteen countries around the world with laws on the books that require their native and naturalized citizens to vote in all national and some local elections as a required responsibility of citizenship. A few of those are so devoted to the concept, that failure to comply can result in private and personal sanctions, steep fines, community service, jail, and in some extreme cases, even long-term prison sentences for serial offenders as expressed in the image above. Below is a more specific breakdown of the countries that already have compulsory voting.
Alas, I’m not suggesting we implement that type of system here in America — at least, not in the same way it exists in those countries — not even close to it. Now that I’m sure I’ve gotten at least some of your hackles up, please allow me to lay out a little background before demonstrating how my plan can work.
As Americans, we and our ancestors have managed to build the third-largest country (by population) on the planet. A country with the largest (by far) Gross Domestic Product on Earth, and, as if that weren’t enough, we did it in scarcely more than 245 years of existence (Actually, a lot less than that- America has enjoyed the highest global GDP for many decades already). Not too shabby.
What does that have to do with anything? You might be asking. That’s a fair question, so allow me to explain.
Collectively, we Americans accomplished that unprecedented type of national growth in such a short period of time, not only through the strategic use of capitalism, innovation, and the establishment of a groundbreaking Constitution — a Constitution which would ultimately be used as a model for the constitutions of many other countries having been born since — but by perfecting both the art and the science of improved imitation.
Growing up in New York, I remember a television commercial for a company whose name I won’t mention which said, in relevant part, …. “we don’t make the products you buy, we make the products you buy better.” It’s a fantastic ideology if you think about it — taking someone else’s work, improving upon it significantly enough to legally be able to call it your own, and then using it in ways the original creator probably never even fathomed.
In a nutshell, that’s what the Framers of our Constitution did in the years leading up to the 1789 Constitutional Convention. Virtually every aspect of our Constitution was in some way appropriated from some other nation’s articles of sovereignty. The only difference is that no other nation used all of the elements we adopted or implemented them in quite the same way. That fact makes our Constitution not only revolutionary but specifically unique, despite being, in large part, a patchwork facsimile of the Constitutions of several other countries. A similar model is what I am suggesting in the context of compulsory voting.
The article, “Compulsory Voting ” was written in 2004 by the legal staff within the Library of Congress, which is where this link will take you if you click on it. To be sure, there is no shortage of articles on the topic of compulsory voting strewn about the digital ether. However, if you endeavor to look, you’ll find they all pretty much parrot one another, varying only by the tone, slant, angle, and point of view of the author. The factual basis detailed within each one is pretty consistent for both the pro and the con sides of the debate.
I chose to post a link to this one for two reasons. First, it is an actual official government document, prepared by the legal staff of the Library specifically for publication in the Law Library of Congress. Second, I found the eleven-page text to do an exemplary job of detailing how each country appears to handle situations where citizens fail to vote. It also reinforces that no other country in the world is doing what I will later suggest.
This second article: “Compulsory Voting in European Countries — Pros and Cons” conversely delves into the perceived benefits and drawbacks of CV as it existed in most of those European countries at the time it was written (1973). This largely demonstrates how little the points and counter-points of the topic have changed over the ensuing almost half-century. Further, this article does an excellent job of detailing both sides of the topic without any of the rhetorical fluff I found in each of the opinion pieces I encountered on the subject elsewhere.
In the interest of being thoroughly comprehensive, I will explain each of the most expressed perceived benefits as well as most of the commonly stated drawbacks of compulsory voting systems as they exist today. Once finished, I will unveil a new moniker for the hybrid concept I have developed through none other than the deepest recesses of my own, mad-scientist-like mind (insert resonating wicked-evil laugh here) and I will reveal the concept of a system that I also developed which I believe will allow our government to install logistical infrastructure within the existing framework of our country that will allow my vision of what CV can be in the 21st century to be implemented in a manner that is relatively painless for everyone involved.
First, the Perceived Benefits:
- By far, the most prevalent rationality for every country that has, or has seriously considered adopting compulsory voting for its citizens, is the desire to substantially increase voter turnout.
Perhaps even more intriguing, is that when polled, most people believe that they have a duty to vote in general elections. The next image shows the percentage of Americans in each age range who, when asked in April of 2015, said they believed people have that duty.
The following bar graph shows US voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election and how it compares to other nations. Of special interest are Belgium and Switzerland, both countries with federal laws requiring compulsory voting, however, Switzerland does not enforce its CV laws while Belgium is one of the few countries that boast some of the severest penalties for citizens that renege on their voting obligation.
2. Campaign Reform is the second most considered benefit of CV. Think about it, if everyone (or nearly everyone) had to vote, greasy politicians who routinely spend the majority of their campaign coffers pandering to a few select demographics would have to radically alter their spending strategies as well as refocus and broaden their entire political platforms.
In a country the size of America, if a politician knew going in that at least 70% of the population (around 239,400,000 based upon a current US population of about 342,000,000) was definitely going to vote, you can rest assured their political platform would be far different than the ones we see today. Being inclusive and appealing to a significantly more diverse population would be essential if anyone were to have any hope of winning.
I personally believe that significant campaign reforms are in order, notwithstanding the implementation of compulsory voting. For time and space, I won’t go into that here, but anyone interested in the concept will be able to pick up my new series of books pertaining to voting, two-party politics, our national electorate, numerous proposed campaign reforms in America, and so much more. “Poly-Sci — 888: The History of American Politics & Post-COVID Solutions to 18th Century Problems” will be available wherever you buy books before the midterm elections take place in November 2022. In the meantime, anyone wanting more information can feel free to contact me here, or through social media. Okay, now that we got that first shameless plug for my books out of the way, let’s get back to the perceived benefits of compulsory voting.
3. It is widely believed by proponents of the system that compulsive voting would act to stimulate more interest in the political process by otherwise uneducated voters. To my thinking, this pretty much goes without saying. Many people, when the reality sets in for the first time that they must vote, whether they are initially happy about it or not, I believe are likely to resign themselves to the fact and endeavor to make the best decisions for themselves and their country they can. As we learned in the text of the Library of Congress Report of 2004, most citizens of the countries which have compulsory voting laws in place, are pleased with it and participate happily as if it were completely voluntary. Meanwhile, those countries outlined within that document, all enjoy substantially significant voter turnout percentages which consistently exceed 60% of the total eligible population.
Throughout my substantial study of political science, both in this country and abroad, it has never ceased to amaze me how many determined and passionate voters possess almost zero knowledge of the specific powers and authority they are voting to entrust to each candidate. However, there is a stark contrast to this mentality which we will discuss in the ‘cons’ section of this report. Hopefully, no matter what form of voting reform we ultimately adopt in this country, an increased focus will be spent on educating our children more heavily in civics and the political process. There should also be an increased focus on making sure that the goal of every educator is to teach their students how to think about important topics like politics without trying to teach them what to think. Sadly, many modern teachers fail miserably in this category.
Perhaps my biggest problem on this slippery slope though is how this kind of intellectual treachery is practiced today. It’s not just in our schools, as if that weren’t bad enough, but I find this situation to be particularly pervasive through well-advertised television anchorpersons, mainstream print media, and most heavily across every social media platform in existence.
Where Americans look to acquire political information and the veracity of the information they get is one of the most horrifying situations in the world to me today. In a worst-case scenario, people who absorb campaign and candidate information that is rife with verisimilitude but utterly devoid of anything resembling the truth can forever have their political philosophies and ideologies destroyed by being fed misinformation and disinformation from a source that they like and think they can trust. Even worse, if those people enjoy some modest modicum of persuasive power within their circle of influence — the cancer of propaganda could become geometric, while all the time being completely unintentional.
In today’s ‘social media elections’ I firmly believe that almost every election in America is won or lost on the internet. With no less than 65% of political information being spread — that is, both accurate and inaccurate information — across social media and a series of here today, gone tomorrow internet sources calling themselves journalists, there can be no doubt that a system needs to be developed and implemented which requires opinions being expressed publicly to clearly be labeled as such. Further, I believe there needs to be a system of increasing penalties for sources that are caught violating that edict, even more so if it is determined that they knowingly and wantonly disseminated false information.
Of course, Everyone has the right to speak their opinions, but not to purposefully mislead others through deviously inaccurate propaganda and bluster. That being said, satire is a wonderful thing. I use it almost hourly, myself, and I might as well quit my day job for good if I weren’t able to poke fun at any number of politicians and government officials — most of it only in the interest of good-natured humor — I swear (fingers crossed behind back).
Still, as much as I love and embrace the idea of satirical humor, I never make such comments that express things that might be taken by some to be factual without mentioning that the comment is only my opinion (no matter how much more educated and informed my opinion is than yours). I believe this value should become centralized as we all endeavor to police the information being spewed throughout all manner of broadcast, print, and social media.
Again, to clarify, we should never attempt to censor anyone or their opinions. But, even opinions need to be spoken responsibly with the necessary disclaimer that they are just that — opinions. This is a situation that desperately needs to be addressed in America, no matter how voting reform either progresses or regresses.
Do I have a plan for that too? You bet. Much more on that subject in my upcoming book series “Poly-Sci — 888: The History of American Politics & Post-COVID Solutions to 18th Century Problems.” Shameless book plug #2 taken care of — onward we move.
4. When we look closely at the countries that have embraced compulsory voting, there is one truth that’s inescapable…. It works — at the very least with respect to increasing voter participation. Furthermore, as we saw in the data provided by The Library of Congress, the magnitude of the punishment dished out for failure to comply with CV laws, doesn’t directly correspond to that increase. That fact is particularly important if the model I developed for implementing a new hybrid variation of CV here in America is to have any chance of being considered, embraced, and ultimately adopted. But more on that later.
5. At first glance, this point seems similar to pro number three, in that, it’s not a far stretch to imagine people who now must vote, opting to get much more involved in the positions and platforms of each viable candidate. But this is different than getting involved with the political process since this issue deals with acclimating oneself to the policies and platforms of each individual candidate and not necessarily what they would be empowered to do should they get elected. I’m also not too sure I agree with this one.
I can envision voters endeavoring to familiarize themselves with the positive attributes of the candidate they decide to support, but in the age where 98% of all Americans could sustain and support a clinical diagnosis of ADHD, I don’t believe the average American will take the time to familiarize themselves with every candidate simply because they are suddenly legally required to vote. I believe this is particularly true if they didn’t give a hoot about it before the law was passed. I have no doubt that some newly embracive voters will engross themselves and become more actively engaged in the similarities and differences of the candidates, but I am under no illusion that a significant number will suddenly stop voting for the best looking, the funniest, or the one who has the coolest dog. That’s just human nature.
Chances are, if they weren’t interested in knowing the candidates before they were compelled to vote, a good chunk of them won’t care afterward either. However, it’s the ones who will that gets me excited and I have no doubt that there definitely will be some.
6. This point is similar to number two, in that, many proponents of CV believe that mandatory voting will reduce the polarization that has plagued this country for much of the last 13 years. I believe this can be true, but I also firmly believe that several other things will have to happen in America for this benefit to be realized to its maximum potential. That, however, is more of a topic for my soon-coming book on political polarization and personal division in America: “Poly-Sci — 888: The History of American Politics & Post-COVID Solutions to 18th Century Problems” which delves deeply into topics such as this and concentrates on finding ways to help Americans focus on what we can accomplish together more than the idealistic but unrealistic attempts to tell people that we have many more similarities than we have differences. While the latter is certainly true, the reality is that reiterating it ad-nauseum does nothing to actually bring people together.
For now, I think it’s enough to say that I believe it is possible to drastically reduce the divisive tension that exists in America today, but it won’t be easy, and it will take a seriously concerted effort by all Americans before there is any chance of real, widespread success. A condition that, once again, the media and social media continuously work to deteriorate.
7. Lastly, it is a foregone conclusion that compulsory voting will all but eliminate voter suppression. Put simply, you can’t suppress anyone when the law requires every qualified and eligible adult to vote. That being said, there are people who do their best to modify the definition of what voter suppression is to include the term to mean stopping absolutely any person who happens to be in America from voting, and that’s simply not constitutional. As we see in the image above, Title 18, section 594 of our United States Code — the code that covers crimes and criminal procedures — clearly defines voter suppression. In it, the term ‘ELIGIBLE VOTERS’ is the key.
Contrary to the opinions of some, there are certain constitutional requirements (that are clearly spelled out here on the usa.gov website), which specifically prohibit certain people from being legally eligible to vote. People who fall into any of these categories are expressly forbidden from voting in federal as well as state elections for federal offices within The United States, though there are some who believe we should allow absolutely anyone and everyone to vote.
As a hardline constitutionalist, I vehemently defend the text of the Constitution. To allow absolutely anyone residing within our borders to cast a legitimate vote (meaning a vote that will actually count, and should actually count, towards the final tally of votes in any election) would be to promote an absurd notion that allows for all manner of frauds and manipulations, particularly in areas where there is no clear-cut winner and every vote counts — a scenario we’ve seen numerous times in recent elections.
Now for the cons to compulsory voting:
- The detractors of compulsory voting uniformly stress two points as the most fundamental reasons why we should never consider compulsory voting in America. The first, and most obvious is that, through various Constitutional amendments, voting has been determined to be a right, not a law. Further, as Americans, we enjoy a constitutional right to certain freedoms, with freedom of expression and freedom of choice being two of the most prevalent.
Determining to refrain from anything, even voting can be a form of expression, and it’s clearly an expression of choice. That fact alone, for many people, is reason enough to immediately prohibit any thought or consideration of a compulsory voting law.
The problem I, and many people who believe as I do, have with that argument is that many of the same people making that argument have advocated for imposing freedom restrictions upon other liberties which are also freedoms of expression and choice. Let’s take The Affordable Care Act as a perfect example of this.
Without any regard to the reasons or rationalities behind the implementation of the law; The Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare when it was originally authored and implemented by members of congress and ultimately signed into law by then-President Obama), forced Americans to purchase health insurance whether they wanted it or not (the original legislation included a mandate that made it illegal for any American to not have insurance after a certain date).
What’s more, health insurance is something that people must actually pay for. Under this highly controversial piece of legislation, Americans who opted not to subscribe to a health insurance policy meeting a specified minimum threshold of coverage detailed within the Act, risked steep fines or even imprisonment if they failed to comply with the law for a certain period of time. Naming the bill, The Affordable Care Act didn’t change the fact that people living at or below the poverty level would struggle to meet even the most minimal additional financial burden beyond their existing responsibilities.
Nevertheless, The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress, signed into law by the president, and eventually survived several emergency challenges to its constitutionality to the Supreme Court of the United States. The law was challenged for many reasons, but one of the most prevalent was the argument pertaining to the loss of freedom of choice. Ironically, many of the people who fought diligently for The Affordable Care Act, now oppose the consideration of compulsory voting using that same constitutional conflict.
There are several other historical examples of this type of ‘partial revocation’ of constitutional freedoms that have been imposed on us by our government throughout the years. For the purposes of this paper, the point is simply that if Americans who claim to value and embrace our Constitution could advocate for the passing of an act that would eliminate more than one aspect of freedom of expression and which would actually cost every American money out of their pockets, it seems hypocritical to disregard the benefits of CV unilaterally and without debate.
If you aren’t immediately aware of the details that surrounded the passing of The Affordable Care Act, you might be asking now, how the ACA managed to ever pass the constitutional challenge in front of the SCOTUS, since there is no denying that government-mandated insurance is an infringement on our rights to choose and protest. The answer is one of the most intricate constitutional manipulations in the history of America.
In order to draft a bill that could possibly survive a guaranteed challenge to its constitutionality, the authors of the legislation made the brilliant decision to incorporate the new bill into the tax code. Since Congress has the constitutional authority to impose new taxes however it sees fit — provided the people have representation during the implementation — the congressional majority that drafted the bill specifically incorporated the legislation into the tax code rather than writing it as a traditional resolution. I mention this here because, in order for a bill implementing compulsory voting to be able to withstand the same type of constitutional challenge, it will also have to be incorporated into the tax code. Fortunately, the plan you’ll read about shortly takes this into consideration since there is no doubt that a bill to implement CV in America, would find itself promptly in front of the SCOTUS.
2. Detractors of compulsory voting often also cite that they believe mandating people to vote will have the exact opposite effect on voter engagement and interest that we looked at while examining the positive benefits. In this school of thought, it’s believed that instead of deciding to get involved and understand the issues and the candidates better, people are more likely to succumb to futility and not even try to educate themselves. Put simply, Americans who couldn’t care less about politics before the mandate will maintain that attitude, and simply vote for ‘anyone’ or whoever’s name appears first (or last) on the ballot.
There is no doubt that no matter what changes are implemented in our national voting system, there are going to be naysayers, detractors, and skeptics. There are undoubtedly going to be some people who do not wish to participate for any number of reasons and who will be further agitated because they are now required to do so by federal law.
Because of this, I believe that incorporating a ‘none of the above’ option; or an ‘ I don’t wish to vote for any of these candidates’; and an ‘I abstain due to religious affiliation’ tab on each voting interface will afford those people an opportunity to satisfy their legal requirement while maintaining their right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion, which we will address next.
3. Similar to the freedoms of choice and expression which we just reviewed, we as Americans also enjoy a freedom that is much more rarely seen throughout the world — the freedom of religion. This is a particularly important part of any discussion regarding compulsory voting because there are several religions that are practiced across America which strongly discourage any participation in politics or elections of any kind.
On the surface, this too might seem like a deal-breaker. A quick glance tells us that any law requiring all Americans to vote would immediately violate the religious beliefs of every member of those religions. The thing is, there is already no shortage of federal and state laws — across all fifty states — which violate the edicts of any number of religious texts. Because of this, a religious exception would have to be built into the law just as it is with many other religiously prohibitive legislations.
In fact, in some cases, state and federal laws are passed without regard to religious freedoms — most notably, Americans belonging to both the Muslim and Mormon faiths have traditionally been serial polygamists (able to have and maintain multiple spouses and multiple households simultaneously) — a practice that is strictly forbidden anywhere within the borders of the United States. These laws were conceived, drafted, approved, and ratified despite the tens of millions of Americans who are members of these religions who reside here.
I am strongly in favor of the implementation of religious exemptions for these people, not only for compulsory voting but to be able to practice the religious marital doctrines of their beliefs without fear of punishment from any aspect of their government.
Why? Because the written doctrines of their beliefs clearly allow this, and in some cases, actually advocate polygamous nuptials as a blessing. That, and, oh yeah, I almost forgot, our constitution specifically awards them the right to adhere to those doctrines. This situation is also analogous to the religious exemptions American lawmakers in many states have built into the criminal codes of their states pertaining to people who consume various schedule 1 controlled substances as part of their religious rituals. In those cases, the law allows for them to possess and consume those otherwise illegal narcotics in certain, predefined quantities.
I believe that similar exemptions for voting would be much easier to implement.
4. That point makes an excellent segue into the enforcement and policing of a compulsory voting law — the next most common factor that detractors of the concept frequently push. It also presents a perfect opportunity for me to begin to introduce the personal flavor of my proposed plan for implementing a variation of CV into law in America. That’s because under my proposal for incorporating the law into the tax code (the same way The Affordable Care Act was) the administrative onus for enforcement can fall squarely upon the government department tasked with the tabulation and verification of votes, not upon local police and investigators.
In my plan, by syncing our national voting system with our Internal Revenue system, each and every vote being cast can not only be immediately validated against the voter’s social security number but immediately tabulated and counted for each respective candidate without fear of malfeasance, manipulation or fraud.
Think about this; as Americans, every one of us has a file with the IRS whether we file taxes annually or not. Likewise, we each have a unique social security number which, in case you didn’t already know, is also conveniently referred to by the IRS as our ‘Taxpayer Identification Number’ or TIN (for corporations this is called an “Employer Identification Number” or EIN).
Using our current national voting system, law enforcement agencies between the fifty states have proven approximately 1,353 cases of voter fraud in recent years. And before you go there, I can absolutely guarantee that number is accurate as an absolute minimum. That means there might be more but there absolutely isn’t less. How can I make such a guarantee? Because I indexed the alleged names and states of each offense and independently verified that each arrest actually occurred through Google searches of the names of those convicted. As you can see by the graphic above, of those 1,353–1,165 resulted in criminal convictions.
The National Voter Fraud Database maintained by Heritage.org provides a wealth of factual information on voter fraud arrests and convictions throughout the country. Whether you believe voter fraud across America poses a serious threat to our elections and our constitutional republic or not, there is no doubt that it exists and that it is far more widespread than mainstream media would have us believe.
This is a topic I address at great length within my new series of books — “Poly-Sci — 888: The History of American Politics & Post-COVID Solutions to 18th Century Problems” which will be available in time for the 2022 midterm elections — (shameless book plug number three is now complete) — but I won’t go into too much detail about it here, except to reiterate that voter fraud is very real and often deals with widescale fraud that is much more potentially destructive than just someone trying to vote twice or voting for their dead grandfather. Further, just like with every other type of crime by deception, only a relatively small percentage of voter fraud crimes ever get discovered. Of the ones that do, only an even smaller percentage actually get reported, and an even smaller number than that ultimately end with a conviction. Now that we know there have been over 1,300 successful criminal convictions for voter fraud recently, it’s positively frightening to think of how many instances are never discovered, reported, or prosecuted.
Now I will begin to explain my proposed solution to this seemingly insurmountable quagmire:
If our government were to systematically integrate the national federal voting system with the National Internal Revenue Taxpaying System, a virtual mountain of logistical problems would be solved. Let me explain.
First, my suggestion was applied, voter registration would become simple and efficient in the extreme. Using a newly designed and integrated smartphone app, Americans could log into their IRS accounts (which are and have been completely secure for over several decades now) and register to vote. Since the registrations are directly linked with each registrant’s SSN or TIN if you prefer, the propensity for fraud of any kind is virtually nonexistent since no other humans are involved in the process and at no point is any piece of paper carrying your vote ever located outside of your own care and custody.
Next, when primaries or elections begin, registered voters could just as easily log in to their hybrid IRS/Voter app and cast their votes, at their leisure, during the open voting period. This has tremendous upside since there is much ado made about political activists masquerading as good-intentioned ‘volunteers’, showing up at polling stations to pass out water and snacks to people waiting in long lines to vote and, in the process, working diligently to influence those votes. In some cases, there have even been reports of these ‘volunteers’ making threatening statements that a person had better vote a certain way, or telling voters that this polling station is only for people voting for a certain party or candidate and if they want to vote for a different party/candidate, they will have to find a different polling station.
Another fantastic aspect of this method of voting is that legitimately registered voters can vote from anywhere in the world. Wherever they are, if they have a smartphone and a cellular connection, they will be able to log in to their IRS/Voter account and register their vote. This voting method will also eliminate the need for ballot boxes, the need to police those ballot boxes, and eliminate the possibility of harvesting votes placed into them. Similarly, mail-in ballots, as well as paper ballots of any kind can be eliminated, along with an opportunity for fraud at those junctures. Signature verifications will no longer be necessary and with that, vote rejection due to signature mismatches will also become a thing of the past.
There will be no more use for polling stations, voter ID laws, or any type of voter suppression for that matter. Long lines, waiting, and undue influence from ‘volunteers’ at voting centers will be gone, and voting itself, just like voter registration, will take about a minute and be completed from virtually anywhere.
Incredibly, the integrity of every vote will be practically beyond reproach in this system because every vote cast will be directly linked with a corresponding social security number or TIN. In this system, deceased people can’t vote or be registered to vote because the national IRS database will already know the individual is deceased and prevent voter registration and/or vote casting. Further, because of the integration of this system with in-use national databases and the existing infrastructure of the IRS, there will be no additional burden placed on law enforcement or the courts. Instead, investigators within the IRS will have all the tools at their disposal to discover, apprehend and prosecute fraudulent voters or attempted fraudulent voters. Any attempts to manipulate the system can be handled directly by the Internal Revenue Service and promptly turned over to their investigators for further action.
That brings me to my final point, and probably the one most people regarding this topic are concerned with: what will be the penalties for failure to comply?
I spent a lot of time perusing the internet to learn more about the various methods of ‘punishment’ doled out by governments around the world in countries that already have compulsory voting laws in place. What I found was both interesting and unsuspected. Primarily, most citizens in the countries that subscribe to compulsory voting, like it -many even love it.
That was the interesting part. Honestly, I suspected as much because, with the ever-looming threat of manipulated elections, knowing that your elected representatives weren’t put in power by a small percentage of the population at least makes it harder to rig an election.
The surprising aspect of what I found, however, is that a report published by the Pew Research Group found that the civilian populations of several other European countries that do not currently have compulsory voting laws would be in favor of implementing it.
This is probably because, believe it or not, most of the world already has mandatory voter registration laws in place. The following map details in green all the countries across the planet that have laws requiring their citizens to register to vote.
Getting back to the subject of potential punishments for people who might simply and continuously refuse to vote, I need to make it clear that I would never abdicate for any regulation or overhaul of existing voting laws and procedures that would punish or, God forbid, imprison people who refused to comply. Honestly, I can’t imagine there are many Americans that would.
In fact, instead of punishment of any kind, I propose that Congress should create a fairly substantial nationwide tax credit that would be available to all American citizens, or naturalized American citizens, of legal voting age, who comply with the new law. Under this system, proactively voting is incentivized instead of reactively punishing people in any way for failure to comply.
Because of doing it this way, the same agency that would record voter registrations and oversees vote tabulation has direct control over the administration of the benefit or the lack thereof. Under this scenario, all Americans who comply with the new law and cast a vote would receive, let’s say a $1,000 tax incentive when they file their annual taxes. Anyone who still decides they do not want to vote merely forfeits their eligibility to receive the incentive for each year that they don’t participate in national elections. Or, if they are in a tax bracket that requires them to pay additionally at the end of each year, that tax burden would similarly be reduced by $1,000.
As an integral part of this plan, I also propose that those Americans who are disabled or who subside at or below the poverty level, and who are not employed and do not file annual taxes, will receive an annual $1,000 bonus to their respective government payments each year that they comply. Social Security recipients might be able to elect to either receive the benefit in one lump sum or to have their monthly allotment increased by a proportional amount.
Similarly, failure to vote by fixed and low-income persons will only result in the forfeiture of their annual bonus for that year. People who refuse to participate in any way because of religious beliefs would also not be eligible for the incentive unless they select the religious exemption tab within their individual IRS/voter interface and cast their vote as ‘none of the above.’
That brings me to my final revelation; (I know you must be ecstatic at the revelation — finally, this dude is gonna shut up!).
The last issue that I have is what to call this possibly insane, way out-of-the-box plan to revolutionize the way we Americans vote in the 21st century. To that end, I think I’ve kept you all waiting long enough.
I call my brainchild voting system: The American Voter Integrated Tax Registration System or AVITARS.
Instead of calling the law that would require it ‘The Compulsory Voting Act,’ I prefer naming it ‘The Incentivized Voting Act,’ or IVA — (pronounced Eeva) since it would, I believe, become the improved global version of compulsory voting, and serve as the template for other countries to follow suit, hopefully even countries that already have compulsory voting laws. After all, as I mentioned earlier, while we Americans have a long and successful history as inventors and innovators, we have an even greater history as improvers, updaters, and modernizers.
As many of us know, Henry Ford didn’t invent the car or the assembly line, he just made both better and more efficient for mass production. The same is true for Thomas Edison and the light bulb, and so many others.
Will this concept catch on? Who knows? Without my crystal ball, I can only say that I believe it should.