RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — People could be fined for not voting in general elections if a bill recently introduced in Congress becomes law.
The Civic Duty to Vote Act, written by Rep. John Carson of Connecticut, was introduced in the House on Monday.
The bill’s goal is 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.
A $20 fine would be assessed to any eligible citizen who failed to vote in a general election.
However, the bill allows people 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.
Additionally, a waiver would be available if they cannot afford the fine or if they commit to performing one hour of community service.
Those who fail to pay the fine would face no additional penalties or any denial of government benefits, according to the bill, and law enforcement agencies would not be allowed to use a person’s violation of this act to conduct any further criminal investigations.
Larson is the former chairman of the U.S. Task Force on Election Reform. To read the bill’s full text, click here.