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Author Topic: Voting Tax--or not?
JonathanTheOmnipotent
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This is the first year I'm actually allowed to vote, though I'm not even registered. Honestly, though, I don't think I should since I doubt that I could make an informed decision. I've moved around so much, I've been completely oblivious to local and state politics. Well, if I was still in Florida, I would go out of my way to vote for any opponent Jeb Bush has...

Anyway, on campus at Stony Brook, we're also voting for things next week. But if you think voter turnout is bad for government elections, university elections here are like a party that never even started. Last time around, there were 2,000 voters. That's 2,000 out of 35,000.

I think there definitely needs to be some sort of incentive to get people to vote. The idea that voting is "your say" in the government just isn't enough anymore. People apparently don't really believe that what they have to say doesn't count. And maybe it's true.

I thought of a possible tax on voting, say if you don't vote in a year, you get charged $50 on your tax form. It's not enough to break the bank, but I think it's enough to motivate one to get his ass of the couch and go to a voting booth.

I ran this idea by someone I know and he told me how it was unconstitutional. It's (a) bribery and (b) what about the people who don't make enough money to pay for the $50?

But there has to be some way to do it...what if it was a tax rebate? $50 off on your taxes if you do actually go out and vote. Or maybe make it some sort of status incentive--not only are you a tax paying citizen, but you've been upgraded to a voting citizen as well. And then give some arbitrary benifits for the higher status.

And I think an even bigger issue is putting a choice on the ballot to not vote for any of the candidates. It should definitely get all those people who want to vote but just don't like any of the candidates--that way they could at least make an impression on local politics while not having to say anything about the crazy national politics.

More later. Gotta go.


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Dan Allen
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quote:
But there has to be some way to do it...what if it was a tax rebate? $50 off on your taxes if you do actually go out and vote. Or maybe make it some sort of status incentive--not only are you a tax paying citizen, but you've been upgraded to a voting citizen as well. And then give some arbitrary benifits for the higher status.

It would still be bribery - what about all those people that don't make enough to even pay taxes?
quote:
And I think an even bigger issue is putting a choice on the ballot to not vote for any of the candidates. It should definitely get all those people who want to vote but just don't like any of the candidates--that way they could at least make an impression on local politics while not having to say anything about the crazy national politics.

In a way that's already available; just don't fill in the blank(s).
I like some of the ideas to improve voter turnout like:
Moving the actual voting day to Saturday.
Spreading the voting times across several days.
I know that absentee ballots (early voting) is really catching on, at least here in Arizona, and could actually improve voter turnouts, but I think that real problem is that so many people just cannot see how the vote has any real significance to how government runs. Even down to the city level.


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maniacal_engineer
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People who are too apathetic and ill informed are the LAST people that you want to have voting. I think that voters should be able to read, in english. voters should be able to recognize common rhetorical devices that might be used to persuade them. And the 'tax paying landowner only' idea is extreme, but not without a kernel of merit. when people on the dole outnumber tax payers then they can vote themselves a pay raise and things fall apart fast. In california we recently had a measure that would have lowered the standard for imposing property taxes from 2/3 to 50%+1. If more than 50% of voters rent, they can easily be persuaded to vote for property tax increases, not realizing that their landlord will pass that along to them.
the franchise is the greatest power given to the populace, with the exception of the rights in the first and second amendments. Why do people advocate limits on legislated limits on forst amendment rights (hate speech legislation) or second amendment rights (banning assault rifles or hand guns), and yet will accept no strictures on voting.

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Locus
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If you pay taxes ..of any sort..then you should be allowed to vote.

If you choose not to excercise your vote ..that's your choice ...but don't whine about the idiots you get to represent you.


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Dan Allen
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quote:
People who are too apathetic and ill informed are the LAST people that you want to have voting. I think that voters should be able to read, in english. voters should be able to recognize common rhetorical devices that might be used to persuade them. And the 'tax paying landowner only' idea is extreme, but not without a kernel of merit. when people on the dole outnumber tax payers then they can vote themselves a pay raise and things fall apart fast. In california we recently had a measure that would have lowered the standard for imposing property taxes from 2/3 to 50%+1. If more than 50% of voters rent, they can easily be persuaded to vote for property tax increases, not realizing that their landlord will pass that along to them.
the franchise is the greatest power given to the populace, with the exception of the rights in the first and second amendments. Why do people advocate limits on legislated limits on forst amendment rights (hate speech legislation) or second amendment rights (banning assault rifles or hand guns), and yet will accept no strictures on voting.

Wasn't voting limited to landed people originally? It's all about finding the largest group of people that will vote the way you want them to today, so I agree that letting the un-informed vote isn't a good thing. But I'm also a little concerned about the idea of limiting the right and responsibility to vote based on a person's apparent knowledge or skills. Who do we get to set the limits and test the populace, the bureaucrats? They're one of the biggest reasons we have so much apathy today anyway.

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maniacal_engineer
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you take a test on the rules of the road when you get a drivers license. how about a test when you register. it would have definitions and examples of rhetorical devices, you would then be provided with a list of arguments that you would then have to identify. a score that shows moderate comprhension, say 55%, would be enough to get you a registration. you would keep the stub with the definitions and examples to help decipher the materials you recieve. it would be graded by the postmaster or DMV clerk or whoever. The DMV already does this, and they already passed motor/voter (a very bad idea) so the infrastructure is already in place. also, sample ballots or voter informations packets every year would also contain refresher materials so that everyone would be able to remember the rhetorical devices and propaganda techniques that they need to pretect themselves from demagoguery on either side.

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Dan Allen
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But techniques and devices can change, so the testing would have to occur every time you vote. That would become very time consuming and lessen participation even more than what we have now.

I would prefer a system that significantly reduces the value of using rhetorical devices in the first place. If a politician cannot gain a numerical advantage by 'selling' an economic windfall to some group - he's not going to bother. Once you reduce the 'noise level' in political campaigning, it will be easier to see what your representative is really doing for you.


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maniacal_engineer
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i agree that the it would be good to find a way to prevent pol's from buying votes with govt money, but I see that as distinct from rhetorical techniques. I think that knowing less than ten of these can largely innoculate you against deception.
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Locus
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While we're barring people from voting ..we should start with members of organized religion..first because they owe alligiance to a foreign power. Secondly because they failed the lemming test.

When presented with a slippery slope ..may as well strap those skis on.


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msquared
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Locus

And what foriegn(SP?) power would that be? People said that Kennedy should not be President because if he were a good Catholic he would do what the Pope told him to do. Now I guess the Dems were lucky he was not a good Catholic.

msquared


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