But hey, it’s a free country. We should be free to vote or not vote at our leisure. True enough, but here’s the kicker: witholding your vote doesn’t raise any eyebrows at the State House. No one cares. When the reports come out decrying the next wave of American apathy, lawmakers will be extra sure not to be late for their next lunch break. Lawmakers don’t care about our civic engagement because they have no incentive to care. Collectively they’ve failed, and we’ve failed, and voter turnout continues to slip because we forget that government doesn’t respond with new offers, lower prices, or enhanced services like a company would when consumers are bailing on them. Whether our government staff are competent or not, we continue to pay their salaries every April. Lawmakers only respond to vocal constituents, visionary leadership, and loyal campaign donors.
Interested in passing a bill that would boost voter turnout and make it easier for citizens to vote? There is one in the State House called Election Day Registration (S. 2514), and it’s already proven itself by boosting turnout an average of 12 percent in all seven states that have it. In Massachusetts, are you going to leave it our lawmakers to pass S.2514 on their own? Of course not, because you know that government won’t improve itself unless you prod it along. It takes more than just witholding your vote. You actually have to call and write to headquarters to get any of this done. Think that’s an inconvenience? Just be thankful you don’t have to do that in your commercial life. “Hi, Sovereign? Do you think you can open up a few more ATMs near me?” When capitalism’s at its finest, your money sends the message, and you save yourself the phone call.
Not so for government! So get a move on. Call or write Senate President Therese Murray at (617) 722-1500. Tell her you want to get S.2514 out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, where it’s sat for two months, awaiting your prod.
Want to call your own senator? Look them up here: http://wheredoivotema.com.
By Adam Friedman