My own personal stupid idea. It’s really smart and effective.
It’s really smart and effective, this idea of mine. I’m sure it will garner supporters and even more people that understand why it’s a good idea. Along with the realization that it is going nowhere makes it pretty stupid.
One of the largest problems we have with our democracy here in the good old U.S.A. is voter participation. The strength of a democracy is directly related to the percentage of participation of the electorate. We aren’t doing well, as I have pointed out in previous posts. There are ways to fix this but, first we need to identify the problem.
The larger the percentage of voters in an election cycle tends to favor more progressive candidates. This has never been lost on the members of our right wing and the constant drum beat of shenanigans they pull to try to limit voter participation should be lost on no one. They are much more effective at suppressing the voters than the progressives are at increasing participation. Something about voter fraud and illegal aliens cramming the ballot box. It really doesn’t matter to them that it’s a lie. They don’t even have anecdotal evidence to support this crap. It’s not a problem. They just keep saying it.
Many programs have come along to “get out the vote” and their effect has been mostly negligible on the percentages. Rock the vote, registration drives and other efforts have done little to increase participation. The right actually made it a jail able offense to register voters without jumping through some impossible hoops in Florida. Early voting has been tried and restricted and expanded and curtailed to varying degrees around the country. The motivators have been a disaster.
I have often said that if you just doubled voter turnout that you would have a revolution. Today. Total revolution from top to bottom. Corruption would dry up, infrastructure would be built and jails would be emptied. Education would become our foremost public function and our children and grandchildren would be given back their future as a component of our legacy. Portions of the economy would become the responsibility of everyone for the benefit of everyone. This country would become in practice, the country we were promised in theory. The idea of our form of government would evolve for the rest of the world to see. The world would look to us for their hopes and aspirations. Doubling voter participation would be revolutionary.
How to get there? What would it take? Whose knees need to be broken? Doubling voter participation in a single generation? Revolutionary, without question, in every regard.
Firstly, we need to make civics education as important for high school students as any other requirement. Students need to be involved with the process of politics through two election cycles and should be required to participate both in and out of the classroom for graduation. The outside participation should be restricted to local and state office holders and should exclude national offices.
Secondly, this constitutional requirement about the first Tuesday in November needs to be amended. People say you can’t change the constitution. Idiots. It’s been changed 28 times so far. www.wolf-pac.com has a good chance to do it for the 29th right now. They deserve your support.
Go to the first weekend in November and forget about early voting. Get the students to participate with the regular poll workers and make it convenient to process and count 100% more voters than before. Let everybody know that this particular weekend is about the democratic process by having a weekend moratorium of both professional and ncaa sporting events and do public service announcements all weekend long to help more and more people vote. And outlaw exit polling. Who the hell is CNN to tell me who the next president is going to be. I want to hear it from my government. Those guys work for me. I vote.
Thirdly, and since this is where this idea becomes stupid, it’s the most brilliant part. Move from motivating voters to direct incentives. We all have to deal with the gubmint. They charge us for everything from license plates to inspections and permitting that are part of our cost of having a local barber. Personally I like that my barber passes regular health inspections and is certified to have been trained and qualified. The incentives should be directly related to the offices that charge the fees. I think that the next time I have to renew my drivers permit it will cost me $50.00. Okay,it’s alright with me, I don’t have a problem with that. But what would happen if I got a $15.00 discount if I proved I voted for all statewide offices? Hmmm….
Then, when I go to file for my homestead exemption I found that to qualify I had to prove that I voted for all county and municipal offices. Hmmm…. Now you’re talking about better than $700.00.
The sheer number of permits, exemptions, professional licenses, inspections, filings and government transactions that we each have to deal with as citizens, professionals and small business people in a lifetime could become the grease that insures a knowledgeable and participating electorate in just one generation. And it would be absolutely revolutionary, no doubt about it.
Those that would refuse to participate would be charged no more than any others. They just wouldn’t be offered the discount or exemption.
I think it’s revolutionary.