By Benjamin Haber
In Australia, failure to provide a valid reason for not voting in an election results in a $20 fine. The percentage of people who vote in the United States in a general election is abysmally low. (Missing Voters — Times Ledger Nov. 7-13). It is even less in a primary, which in a district that is dominated by one party, the candidate who is ultimately elected may well have been so with a percentage in the teens.
In view of the size of the United States, I am not suggesting we follow Australia. A better alternative for this country would be to allow a $50 tax write-off on one’s federal and state returns if he or she votes. The voter would be required to provide a voting number which would be given at the time a vote is made, and it would be a violation of law to misrepresent. If the latter would be too difficult, there could nevertheless be a write-off, but the tax return could contain a note advising a misrepresentation can be punished by imprisonment or a $500 fine.
Benjamin M. Haber