Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Yesterday was fun. It was Nov. 4th. I woke up at approximately 5:55 a.m., on three hours of sleep, to spend 1.5 hours waiting in line. Then I connected some meaningless arrows and got a sticker.

This sticker was worth something — by my calculations, at least $5

Sorry if some of y’all missed out, but I went to Starbucks and got a free Tall coffee thanks to my handy sticker. With the guidance of an Associated Press article, I also learned that Krispy Kreme, Ben and Jerry’s and Chick-fil-A offered similar goodies yesterday; because it was Tuesday and/or you had a sticker on, anyone could have received free items from each.

“I Voted” stickers are worth some green. In our society of incentives over obligations, this fact is very promising.

As we all know, voter turnout is usually depressing at best.

According to a variety of news sources, this election was different. Early ballot voting set records across the nation. Continuing that trend, CNN tells that many states’ turnout rates yesterday were easily above 75%. According to the BBC, one area in Virginia posted its highest turnout percentage since 1908.

But this election presented a unique example of voters peacefully mobilizing, with the intent of causing real change. I doubt the election of 2010 will do the same. Usually, voters are scarce during years without a presidential election. That’s because we in America are all about choice as opposed to compulsion, even if minute compulsion is the best way to accomplish a goal.

Take compulsory voting laws, for instance. According to wisdom’s holy of holies, Wikipedia, 36 countries currently require all voters to vote on some election. In Australia, where not voting entails a fine of at least $20, voter turnout is always in the high 90-percent range.

It would be nice if American elections encouraged such a great number of citizens to vote. But that simply won’t happen, at least not through compulsory voting laws.

Again, we seem to like “choice,” despite the consequences.

But that free Tall coffee at Starbucks got me wondering. Since we don’t want really buy the whole ‘voting is a civic duty, therefore everyone needs to wake up early and wait in line’ argument, why can’t the government give free junk to voters? I would like an M-16/AR-15, or at least a few MREs. Shoot, I’d settle for a deck of playing cards from Air Force Two.

Seriously, though, can’t we take the hint from businesses and Australia? Couldn’t we offer a tax break, have a national, paid vacation or offer another incentive to encourage civic participation?

In any case, I’m voting for Venti in 2010.

Brett couldn’t resist writing another article on the election. Help him deprogram at

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.