I just got back from voting. I always vote. I figure if you don't vote, you can't complain, and that is not a right I care to lose. I suppose that one of these days I'll get around to absentee voting, but I have to admit I like marching down to the polling station and filling out my ballot. It feels responsible, and honorable, and empowered, and ever so adult. (Geez, you think by the age of 46, feeling like an adult would be old hat.) I like voting.
But...I have to say there wasn't exactly a crowd there panting for the opportunity to exercise their hard-won constitutional rights. (OK, harder won for some than for others.) So that got me to thinking about how it might be possible to encourage more people to vote. For instance, I have a cute little "I Voted" sticker on my shirt right now. What if businesses were encouraged to offer special deals to people wearing their "I Voted" sticker? It would be cool if on Election Day you could go collect a free cookie or a free coffee or two-for-the-price-of-one bagels. Your local chamber of commerce could print up copies of a map showing where you could get your voter goodies. (Just don't take advice on how to vote from them.) Nice advertising for the businesses, and rewards for the voters.
So if you had to go vote before you could go out and collect some free stuff, voting could start feeling like a joyful opportunity, rather than a pointless chore. (Of course, voting should feel like a joyful opportunity anyway, but should has very little to do with reality.) Personally, I'm feeling rewarded not only by my sense of responsible citizenship, but also by the knowledge that after tonight I'll be getting a break from the relentless ads for Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner, and the robocalls pro and con this or that.