WASHINGTON (KVEO) — People could be fined for not voting in general elections if a bill recently introduced into Congress becomes law. The Civic Duty to Vote Act was introduced to the House of Representatives on Monday.
Written by former chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, Rep. John Larson (CT-1), the bill aims to require each eligible citizen to appear to vote in each regularly scheduled general election for federal office. To be an eligible citizen, a person has to be registered to vote for an upcoming election.
If any eligible citizen is found to have not voted in the general election, a $20 civil money penalty will be assessed to these individuals. However, the bill’s text allows Americans to get around the penalty if they are not registered to vote, are unable to vote because of an emergency, cannot follow the terms of the act because of religious beliefs, or if they are unaware of their eligibility to vote.
A waiver would also be available for citizens to apply if they cannot afford the $20 penalty or if they commit to performing one hour of community service. If a person fails to pay the $20 penalty, they would face no additional penalty or any denial of government benefits, according to the bill’s text. Law enforcement agencies could not use a violation of the Civic Duty to Vote Act to conduct any further criminal investigation on them.
Now that the bill has been introduced into the House, it will have to pass a vote there. If that succeeds, it will have to pass a vote in the Senate before being signed into law by the president. Larson is. To read the bill’s full text, click Read the bill’s full text at Congress’ website.