View Full Version : Should The USA Offer A Tax Deduction To People Who Vote?
11-15-2003, 02:00 AM
Correct me if I am wrong (and I know you will) but I remember reading that Belgium does, or used to, make it mandatory to vote in order to get a passport (for adults of voting age). You were able to "not vote" by casting a blank ballot, but you had to go to the polls or send in an absentee ballot. Otherwise, no passport.
I think the US should make a law that every voter gets a 10 percent reduction in taxes. Even if you didn't like any of the candidates, that would count as a vote by leaving the ballot blank.
Wow. Imagine what would happen if 99 percent of the elegible voting USA actually went to the polls!
How would you feel about such a law?
11-15-2003, 02:37 AM
You can lead a horse to water ...
FWIW, voting should remain as a personal obligation and civic duty. If you are concerned about your own life, the lives of your family and friends, your job, the future, the environment, yadda, yadda, you will exercise your right to vote. Remember that a right to vote also means a right not to vote. Anything else is coercion.
Using a tax deduction as an incentive is buying votes. And what about those folks who pay no taxes? A ten percent reduction of nothing is still nothing.
While I still have concerns about low voter turnout, by you not voting makes my vote more powerful. I would rather have fewer informed and involved people vote than have all sorts who don't give a rat's ass show up at the polls and cast ballots.
You can voice your opinions here, there and everywhere but under our system of government and society, that opinion is only counts at the polls.
11-15-2003, 02:37 AM
I would be against it. I doubt that you would want to live in a country where you had to bribe voters to go to the polls. They would really have no more interest in the outcome of elections than they have now. If 100 percent turnout is the goal you may as well add a ten percent surcharge on the taxes of people who don't vote. In either case, the result would not be better government, just more warm bodies at the polls. Ho hum, and won't that make us proud.
11-15-2003, 03:26 AM
What would be the advantage of such a law? If you force someone to do something, can you still call it a "right"?
11-15-2003, 05:44 AM
Belgium still does have a mandatory voting system.
It's a leftover from the Great War. The Identity Card (IC), not the voting, I mean. I think the vote for women only came in in 1948 (yeah, I know.)
The government started giving people who had to go about their business ICs, so they could be identitfied by patrols. After the war, they kept the ICs and started registering every one. Not that hard to do, as Belgium was very catholic and parish registers were kept everywhere. Your IC registers your name, surname, date and place of birth, gender, address and has ofcourse a picture of you on it. You get one when you're 12. A renewal within 5 years, then 10, then 10 again, and so forth. You renew it when you move, as the address on it needs to be changed. the Belgian government knows where every one of its taxpayers live and work.
During election time, every Belgian national over 18 is sent a voting ballot, which you need to present, together with your IC, at your local voting station.
Failure to show up can result in a fine.
I find that because people have to go voting, they take more interest in politics, they're more politically aware, and use their vote to influence the political landscape of the country.
I think Australia has a mandatory voting system, too.
Krisfer the Cat
11-15-2003, 08:47 AM
Well I don't see how that forces people to go to the polls. But I like it. I can ALways use the tax help and since I ALWAYS vote ( oh, wait I missed a primary a couple years ago I was sick, but I voted in the "real" election) it isn't a bribe for me.. call it a fringe benefit for exercising my civil rights! :D
11-16-2003, 12:58 AM
So, with Election 2000 only a few years behind us, you want to add more random noise?
11-16-2003, 01:07 AM
Originally posted by Krisfer the Cat
Well I don't see how that forces people to go to the polls.
No, it doesn't force them to, but it amounts to a monetary penalty for not voting. I still don't see the advantage to the country as a whole.
11-16-2003, 01:24 AM
People who don't vote generally don't care about what happens to the country they live in. I kind of like the idea of the voting being left to those who actually care. Let's not do anything to encourage the dumbasses to start sticking their nose into matters they don't even care about to begin with.
11-16-2003, 08:48 AM
This concept has been debated 2 or 3 times here in the last few months. I've got nothing to add that hasn't been said in the other threads: ie, "no" on inducing people to vote.
11-16-2003, 09:09 PM
I've got a better idea:
Instead of a tax deduction, let's let the people who vote decide everything!
11-16-2003, 10:35 PM
I am told that encouraging people to do something that is in the interest of the nation is an infringement of personal freedom.
Anyway, the concept would soon be spun as a tax on people who dont vote.
11-17-2003, 12:31 AM
There is already a tax on people that don't vote. It's called the lottery... :)
Seriously though, I must have missed the other threads on this that John Mace was referring to, so I must go look them up (so any pointers would be appreciated). I for one think it's a wonderful idea at first glance, but not one I had ever considered before. We give tax incentives to every church in the land, for having children, for already being rich. We hand out money for being unemployed, being underprivelaged (scholarships, grants, etc.). What's wrong with throwing a little encouragement towards one of the other most important deeds a citizen can perform?
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