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Voting is a right, not voting is legitimate

The Connecticut Senate should reject proposed legislation filed by Sen. Will Haskell (D-Westport) to require Connecticut's citizens to vote in elections.

Haskell's proposed legislation would impose a $20 fine or two hours of community service on citizens who failed to vote. The Secretary of the State would collect the fines and grant waivers to those who have valid excuses for not voting. What is left unsaid in the proposed legislation is what would happen to citizens who do not vote and refuse to pay the fine or perform community service. Wage garnishments? Property seizures?

Aside from enforcement problems, the proposed legislation is flawed since it converts the right to vote into a legal duty to vote.

Many citizens do not vote because they lack interest or wish to send a message of disgust to all politicians. In a free society, they should not be required to divulge their reasons to the government.

In 2003, Iraqi officials bragged that President Saddam Hussein had won re-election with 99% of the vote in an election with a 99% turnout. In 2019, 99.98% turned out for North Korea's legislative elections. Maximum voter turnouts are common in authoritarian countries. The Connecticut Senate should take notice.

Mark Shea




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