Thursday, September 4, 2008

Forcing Youself to Vote

I promised a random Australian to vote for Obama in exchange for $10 I needed to pay the customs taxes to leave Cuba.

Woodrow Wilson (the only US President who was also a political scientist) analyzed the significance of nonvoters in US elections. He concluded that "ultimate participation is more important than constant participation" ergo "the vote is in reality a check on those who govern" ("The Pragmatic Electorate," American Political Science Review (Feb 1930), p. 32).

For Wilson, each citizen need not participate in every single little election, only when they were adequately ticked off at the current administration to voice their concerns. More so than a patriotic and civic duty, Wilson saw that voters tended to turn out when their own personal interests were effected.

With the full cast selected, we head into the final act of this year's election. Chances are you have formed an opinion for whom you would like to vote for and are just eagerly waiting for the big day.

Even if you have your good intentions, bumper stickers, "I Heart Voting" button, eye sore lawn billboards, and all the other electoral process paraphernalia that is inevitably discarded like a post-sex-scandal politician, you may not actually vote.

I have my reason to actually vote. Here's a great way to make sure you vote (that is, if it is something you feel you aught to do):

  • Shove $20 into an envelope addressed to your least favorite political party or non-profit organization.
  • Exchange envelopes with a friend who has done the same.
  • On Election Day, if you vote, you get your envelope back. If not, the envelope is dropped into the mail.

Let us know if this idea works for you? What other methods can you ensure that you will actually vote?

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