Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Answers, please

This being an election day, whilst out walking this morning I pondered this burning question: Should Americans who don't vote be penalized?

I used to be a dedicated non-voter, so for me to even consider such a thing is pretty darn surprising. Although I'm loath to penalize people for failing to exercise a right, at the same time our democracy* does not function properly when less than half the eligible population bothers to cast a ballot. I'm honestly divided about it, and I'm curious to hear what others think.

* BTW, don't tell me, "But we live in a republic, not a democracy", because it's the same damned thing. A republic is governed by democratically elected officials, so although the US is not a direct democracy, it's a democracy nonetheless. One of my pet peeves is pointing out the meaningless distinction between the two, so don't do it or I'll think mean things about you.


Blogger Sarcasmo said...

Americans who don't vot *are* penalized. How do you think we ended up with our current administration?

1:21 PM  
Blogger Amy McWeasel said...

I don't think there can be penalties for real. As Sarcasmo pointed out, the penalty is getting a government of not-your-choosing.

I rather like the idea presented in Starship Troopers: some kind of voluntary service in exchange for the right to vote.

1:31 PM  

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