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Proposal to make voting mandatory riles Ridgeway

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posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 08:08 PM
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RIDGWAY — Residents of this Old West- meets-New Age town can be fined if their fences are too high, they have too many chickens, their dogs aren't on leashes or their weeds are out of control.

Tom Hennessy would like to add not voting to that list.

Hennessy, a popular Ridgway brewer and pub owner, is proposing that the mostly dirt-street town at the edge of the San Juan Mountains become a national model by enacting a mandatory-voting statute. Residents who don't bother to vote, for no good reason, would be fined.

"We could do this. It would be a paradigm shift," Hennessy said. "We could be the great civics lesson in representative democracy."


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This idea has been kicked around nationally, on State levels and city levels before. It has been kicked around here on ATS before.

Personally, I believe it is the wrong direction for a representative republic to make voting mandatory. I list a few reason why:

A: As a self-governing individual, you retain the ability to engage yourself or to disengage yourself from politics from any point in time.

B: This will be used as an election tool. Take the following scenario: A political operative from party A gets the voting record (if you can be fined for not voting, it is public record just like any other criminal act) and now has ammunition to label certain groups as anti-democracy, anti-[insert bill here], etc.

C: Why should it be mandatory? Do I not enjoy political free speech? Does not my vote or lack thereof constitute of said political free speech?

D: This is falling in line with what I believe is a similar trend. A government entity using its power to hold a proverbial pistol to your head to force you to do what they wish. It was kicked around with the Healthcare issue (i.e., fines for not carrying health insurance) and is now being considered, albeit at a local level to fine someone for not voting?

E: Who decides what is, and what is not a good reason for not voting?

To me, this is all about wielding the power of government, even at the local level. The local pub owner is at least doing it the right way and putting it up for the people.

I also fail to see how this would be "the great civics lesson" as Tom Hennessy put it. If anything is the exact opposite of what personal responsibility and self-governing is about.




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