On Tuesday, Alabama voted in a special senate election. The Alabama Secretary of State estimates that 25 percent of eligible voters actually voted. In 2016, an estimated 55.5 percent of the U.S. voting age population cast a ballot, 69 percent of Iowans voted (United States Election Project).
Why are so many people in Alabama, the U.S. and Iowa choosing not to vote? What impact is that having on political decision-making in our legislature and Congress? I contend that many of our divisive political conversations are the result of a biased electorate that encourage “agendas” rather than solutions to issues. An election is a job interview; once elected our representatives are obligated to represent all their constituents, not just those who voted for them. That is not happening. I think the solution is to pay everyone to vote — $50 off your income taxes if you voted in the last election, and the bill would be paid by the state political parties. The parties already pay for get-out-the-vote campaigns, this would be a direct method of achieving that goal. The more people who vote, the less the strident voices matter. Maybe common sense will prevail. Maybe candidates can be elected on solutions offered rather than name-calling and innuendo.