Don't vote? Pay a fine (if this bill passes)

ALBANY -- Declining to exercise your right to vote would cost you money if a long-shot bill at the state Capitol is approved.

Eligible voters who don't cast a ballot would be hit with a $10 fine under the bill, which was sponsored earlier this month by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan.

The idea behind the proposal is to make voting compulsory: All eligible voters would be required to turn in a ballot, even if they don't actually vote for anyone.

READ THE BILL: Compulsory voting

The purpose of the bill, according to a memo by the sponsor, would be to boost voter-participation rates.
"Mandatory voting would drastically increase civic participation and transform the political arena by making politicians more reflective of the constituents that elected them," Glick's memo reads.

The proposal wouldn't apply to school board or primary elections.

The bill was inspired in part by Australia's voting system, where non-voters face a minimum fine that equates to about $15 U.S.

It doesn't appear to have much of a future in New York, however.

Senate Elections Committee chair Fred Akshar, R-Colesville, Broome County, has voiced his opposition to the proposal, and Glick has acknowledged there is opposition on both the right and left.

"We all want to increase voter participation and turnout, but there are plenty of other ways to do this without turning our citizens into criminals if they miss an election," Akshar said in a statement.

The bill does not yet have a Senate sponsor.

In a series of tweets, Glick said she was "happy to have generated real conversation about Voting - a right AND A Responsibility."

 

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