ILLINOIS (IRN) — An Illinois lawmaker is proposing a $25 tax credit for voters.
Freshman state Senator Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, has introduced legislation that would give a $25 state tax credit for anyone who votes in a general election.
He says it’s been tried elsewhere and found to increase turnout.
“We need more people to participate in our democracy,” Villivalam said. “That’s what this legislation aims to do.”
He discounted the notion that a tax credit for voting was akin to a bribe.
“This is not a situation where people paying out cash to people right before they walk into the polling location,” he said.
Under Villivalam’s proposal, 4,635,541 voters would have been eligible for $115,888,525 in tax credits from the 2018 general election. That represents a 57 percent turnout rate, unusually high for a non-presidential election.
Voters wouldn’t be able to maximize their credit by also voting in a spring primary under Villivalam’s bill, which would exclude voters not affiliated with an established party.
Voting in Australia amounts to more stick than carrot, carrying a $50 fine for eligible voters who skip out participating in elections.