During the last election, 33% of Americans showed up at the polls. This is a lot, isn’t it? We get in a panic when we hear that one in three Americans is overweight or that one in three black males will go to prison. I’ll admit, the Australian stats look better – 9 of 10 Australians vote, but the government threatens to take their pocket change if they don’t. The U.K. might be a closer comparison. Let’s see….
Ah, it looks like more than 2 in 3 Brits vote. Ok, I’ll agree it looks bad for the Yanks.
With so few Americans voting the results of the last election can’t really constitute a referendum on anything – especially when you consider just under half of those who voted voted for the losing candidate – so really about 18% of the American public voted for the incoming Congress – not really much of a mandate. If anything, the American people said “bugger off” – 67% said this by not voting in the first place. If you want to look at it this way, 80% of Americans did NOT vote for the respected Senator from Ohio.
Now to be fair, the Midterms are like the warm-up band before the main event. It’s ok if you’re still parking your car while they tune up. Americans can shift themselves with a bit more alacrity when a President is being decided, but it does look like America might be getting a little complacent in its aging democracy. We probably should try to get more Americans to vote.
I’ve already discussed tax credits for voting. It would show that the government really cared about the vote – and this is the important part – even the votes cast against them.
But, let’s start with making it easy to vote. Voter registration cards should come free in the mail on your 18th birthday care of the NSA – don’t tell me they don’t know who’s a citizen or not, I won’t believe you. This is America, when we want to spy on someone (i.e., everyone), we do it right. By all means, add a photo (the NSA probably has one of these as well). Then we won’t have to rely on the DMV. This would show that the NSA really is a service agency.
And the polling places, these change all the time. Just take over the ATM machines for the day. The banking industry owes us that much for the bailout – and I can get cash after I vote. I know it’s my own money, but it feels like a reward. Surely if banks can keep my money safe as it whizzes through the atmosphere, they can also keep my vote safe. The upside is that I could vote anywhere I wanted – even if I was out-of-town – because the ATM would know where my vote belonged and whiz it along to the right place.
TurboVote could also work. It’s not as strange as you might think. Estonia has figured out online voting. This may be the first time in history that Estonia has beat America at anything. I submit all sorts of very private information to TurboTax and that’s not been a problem. I don’t even consider my vote to be all that secret (psst: I voted a straight Democrat ticket in the last election).
The only down side I can see is that we would have to have add some oversight of the banking industry.
I’m Jae and 1 in 3 bloggers thought this message is was pretty awesome.