Hot Cup of Tea – Sept. 16, 2016

Posted on September 19, 2016 by Sharon Glass

“VOTERS uninspired by the Federal Election could elect to opt-out of the vote and instead cop a $20 fine.”
I hope you didn’t spit your coffee all over you when you read this headline, sorry about that! Actually this was an article I read recently about what happens in Australia when you don’t vote. Here is the context of the article…”Voters uninspired by the Federal Election could elect to opt-out of the vote and instead cop a $20 fine. It comes as the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) sent a strict warning to voters who choose not to engage in the polling booths, despite already being enrolled, telling they could face court time if they fail to show. A spokesperson for the AEC told non-voters would be issued a ‘non-voter notice’ for failing to meet their legal requirement, which will provide you with two options. 1. To pay a $20 fine or…2. Provide a valid reason why you haven’t cast a vote.” Matt
As I looked at some statistics in Santa Rosa County for the elections in 2012, 2014, the Presidential Preference race in March, 2016, and the August primary, I found reasons why we might consider doing this in America or at least in our individual counties. We might be able to help build a courthouse without asking for a dime from voting residents…smile.
Statistics on the SRC Supervisor of Elections page show that in 2012 we had 116,941 Registered Voters, and only 77,405 voted, that leaves 39,536 who didn’t vote, so a $20 charge would have brought in $790,720.00. In 2014, we had 124,433 registered voters with only 53,826 voting, leaving 70,607 that didn’t vote, so that year we could have gained $1,412,140.00. In the 2016 Presidential Preference Election we had 97,816 Registered Voters with only 42,837 voting, leaving 54,979 that didn’t vote, so we would have gained $1,099,580.00. August 30, 2016 we officially had 127,718 registered voters, and only 32,226 voted which means that 95,492 registered voters did not vote! A fine of $20 for each non-voters this past month would have brought in $1,909,840.00. At this point since 2012 we would have gained $5,212,280.00! And we probably would have a few million more in November.
Now before you go ballistic, and start calling the newspaper to have me removed as a volunteer writer, let me say…I am writing this article knowing this fine for not voting is not going to happen in America or in Santa Rosa County! I am not even suggesting that! Voting is an honor and a privilege and should be on the top of everyone’s priority list. No one should be forced to vote for fear of being fined, they should want to do it. It appears that thousands in our county don’t understand how important this privilege is.
Did you know that Trump only got 16,073 votes in Santa Rosa County out of the 42,837 that voted! The people spoke! I admit I didn’t vote for Trump in March, I voted for another candidate, but I voted! I will vote for Trump in November because he was the candidate of choice by the majority of the people throughout the United States. By the way, this is not an endorsement of Trump, this is a personal statement.
In closing, if you didn’t vote in March or August, and you don’t plan to vote in November, then to my opinion you have no right to complain about anything that happens. We have the greatest country in the world, we have the freedom to vote for the candidate of our choice, but staying home and not voting will not keep our country free!