Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a New York state lawmaker from Manhattan introduced legislation last week regarding voting. She wants to implement a mandatory voting plan, which would impose fines on anyone in New York who doesn’t vote.
She wants to make not voting a costly choice for registered voters. Glick’s proposed voting plan would establish “compulsory voting” throughout the state. So, anyone who does not vote, would be punished. She proposes a $10 fine for those who violate the rules of compulsory voting in New York.
In a memo that was submitted with the proposed bill, Glick wrote:
“Mandatory voting would drastically increase civic participation and transform the political arena by making politicians more reflective of the constituents that elected them.”
Under Deborah Glicks bill, any person eligible to vote and fails to do so, would have to pay a $10 fine, that is… unless the person has a “valid excuse.” At this time, the legislation is not specific as to what types of excuses would be considered “valid.”
So where would the money collected from fined voters go?
Any fines collected would be used to improve the electoral process, the memo stated.
Glick’s bill drew prompt scorn from Senate Elections Committee Chairman Fred Akshar (R-Binghamton), who gave it little chance of ever being enacted.
“Last time I checked, this was the United States of America and people have the right to vote or not to vote,” Akshar said.
Akshar said Glick’s bill represented a “regressive policy that would hurt the poor and those on fixed incomes.”
Barbara Bartoletti, legislative director of the New York State League of Women Voters, was also critical of the bill.
“I doubt that we would support penalizing people who don’t vote,” Bartoletti said. “Often, it is a silent protest on their part to not vote.”
Glick did not respond to a request for comment.
In the memo submitted with the bill, Glick argued her bill would combat New York’s continuing problems with low voter turnout. She noted that Australia has a similar compulsory voting system and has seen turnouts of 90% or more.