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Ending Apathy
2004-09-18 03:58
by Will Carroll

Fifty days from the Presidential election, it's clear that one major issue is going to be GOTV (get out the vote.) Campaigns and state/local organizations will be fighting to get people to the ballots, spending insane amounts of time and money to do something I think should be required.

Yes, required.

I've long thought that the solution to most of our problems is not new laws, new regulations, or new controls, but education. Want a gun? Good, you can go take a course (public or private), pass a test that you have the basic knowledge to do so safely, and there's your license. It's the same model we have in place for driving and while not perfect, it limits the number of absolute incompetents on the road.

There's plenty more items like this: Want to own an assault rifle? Fine, you're in the National Guard. Want to have a kid? Fine, take some basic parenting classes and get a license. Dont want to take the classes? Fine, no aid for you. But I've finally decided that there's an even better one. What I can't decide is which idea is better:

1. Vote or you get no government assistance. Period. You become ineligible to get any Federal assistance in any way, shape, or form beyond that of the common without voting every four years. Want state assistance? Vote for governor. Local? Mayor.

2. Vote and you get one percent off your taxes. Maybe one percent isn't enough. I'm not sure, but let's start small.

I'm not sure it really ends apathy, but it creates an opportunity. People will probably walk into the booth, flick any lever, get their receipt and go on with life. It becomes incumbent upon the candidates, parties, and interested outsiders to educate, while it increases the value of name recognition and ballot construction.

Perfect? Hardly, but it's a start. Required voting or rewarded voting - what's YOUR vote?

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