Wednesday, September 23, 2015
A Proposed New Constitution Article 5, Voting Guarantees Benefits
Also at http://alcarroll.com.
Article 5-Voting Guarantees Benefits
“1. All eligible voters must vote. Failure to vote results in inability to receive all government benefits until the next election, including licenses, grants, subsidies, tax refunds, eligibility for public assistance, student or business loans or credit.”
One must seek ways for the most disaffected to join the political process. The flip side of the last clause of Proposed Article 5 is making them see it is in their self interest to vote, once a more representative democracy is in place. Obviously eligibility for public assistance does not affect children. They should not be punished for their parents' or guardians' actions. Instead those most affected are those least likely to vote; college students; the young, by tying driver's licenses to voting, as Proposed Article 3 also does; and the lower income who are more likely to receive tax refunds. A number of nations like Australia successfully use small fines to increase voter turnout. But in the US this likely would simply lead to the unemployed serving a few days in jail since they could not pay the fine.
“2. Those with strong and longstanding religious, philosophical, or political beliefs against voting are not required to vote if they state their longstanding beliefs.”
There are some faiths who avoid deep political involvement, the Jehovah's Witnesses in particular. Anarchists also often refuse to vote based on their convictions. The Six Nations of the Iroquois do not consider themselves citizens of the US. But where most American Indians consider themselves dual citizens, of both the US and their tribal nation, the Iroquois insist they are Iroquois citizens alone, bound by treaty to the US. Thus they join the military as foreign nationals, and Iroquois who vote in US elections are stripped of Iroquois citizenship.
All these deeply held beliefs against voting should be respected and not penalized. The law should also not place much of a burden upon proof of their belief, just a simple statement. But those who lazily proclaim they don't want to vote deserve no such consideration.