The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Non-voter fines will relieve apathy

    We’ve gone through another SA election, and the 1,520 students who voted overwhelmingly chose the new SA officers.
    Yes. That number is correct, and it is down 50 percent from last year’s turnout. But the 3,000+ students who voted last year is still not a very impressive number. What is wrong with us? Are we all actually as listless as Brandon Bogard inanely suggests.
    I don’t think so. I think we all simply need the proper motivation. But what could possibly motivate our money-obsessed culture to turn out to the polls? How about money, or the loss thereof?
    I have heard tales of Greek organizations who fine their members up to $50 for failing to vote in SA elections. I am sure this practice was designed to be an internal support mechanism for the scores of Greeks who seem to be the only ones running, but this is a separate problem altogether.
    As difficult as it is for me to admit, perhaps the Greeks have stumbled upon a fail-safe method for ensuring democracy not only on our campus, but in the nation as well.
    We could kill two birds with one stone. Our national debt stands at $7.8 trillion and it is rising by $2.16 billion every day. If we could collect money from every registered voter who fails to vote, at the city, county, state and national levels, we could really make democracy work.
    Either voting numbers would go up dramatically, or our national debt would go down or a combination of both.
    I know this sounds like a radical plan, and perhaps a little undemocratic, but if you think about it, a non-voting fine is perhaps one of the most democratic laws we could make.
    First, we have all heard the old adage that a non-vote is still a vote. I agree; it is a vote for apathy, laziness and treason.
    When voting numbers reach the level that they have in our country, democracy itself is in danger and so is our way of life, just as it is endangered by treasonous actions of traitors.
    One of the best ways I can think to implement the fine program is through the already established and equally as hated Internal Revenue Service. The IRS could create a new branch to track voter habits.
    They would not follow whom you voted for, but just whether or not you voted at all.
    And if you failed to vote in any of the year’s elections, they would levy an appropriate fine, say 15 to 30 percent, the next time you file your income taxes.
    Your refund would be dramatically less, if not eliminated, by your failure to vote. Instead of getting an income tax return, you may have to pay in taxes simply because you could not bring yourself to get to the polls.
    Along with the increased revenue for the government and the better exercise of democracy, there would be an additional benefit to this system.
    First, jobs would be created because of the increased infrastructure needed to implement the IRS system and track the non-voters.
    Second, more jobs would be created because of the number of workers that would be needed at the voting places to handle the increased turnout. Perhaps a permanent, year-round government agency would be a good idea to oversee and execute the elections.
    Forcing someone to vote may seem a little undemocratic, but it is simply, as this administration has put it, “for our own good.”
    The only negative effect I can imagine would be the direction the country would go when millions of uninformed voters hit the polls, so the media and the candidates will just have to do a better job getting their ideas on the issues to the masses.
    Nick Thompson is a senior communication major. He can be reached at [email protected].

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    Non-voter fines will relieve apathy