Should we shame people who don't vote? | The Tylt

Should we shame people who don't vote?

As activists and candidates gear up for the 2020 presidential election, many are eying new ways to increase voter turnout. Turnout in the U.S. is among the lowest in the developed world, and some activists are encouraging people to shame those who don't vote. They say it's the duty of all citizens to participate in democracy. Others say it's also their right to abstain from voting. What do you think?

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Should we shame people who don't vote?
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Should we shame people who don't vote?
#VotingIsYourDuty
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#VotingIsYourDuty

A 2010 Yale study showed there was a noted increase in voting when people knew their voting habits were being monitored and shared.

Prior experimental research has demonstrated that voter turnout rises substantially when people receive mailings that indicate whether they voted in previous elections. This effect suggests that voters are sensitive to whether their compliance with the norm of voting is being monitored....The latter type of mailing randomly reported either the election in which they voted or the one in which they abstained. Results suggest that mailings disclosing past voting behavior had strong effects on voter turnout and that these effects were significantly enhanced when it disclosed an abstention in a recent election. 
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During the 2018 primary elections, a group called the Pennsylvania State Voter Program put this theory to the test, sending letters to state voters revealing whether they had voted in the last three elections. The letter asked, "What if your friends, your neighbors, and your community knew whether you vote?" At the bottom of the letter, there was a table showing the names, addresses and voting history of the recipient's neighbors.

The letters appeared to be in an effort to shame people into going to the polls. Some recipients, however, felt it was a violation of their privacy. Per the BBC:

Some residents expressed their discomfort with the campaign.
G Terry Madonna, director of the Centre for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, told Lancaster Online the flyers were inappropriate .
"It's very unusual to try and embarrass people into voting," Mr Madonna said.
"There's a difference in mailings encouraging people to vote and efforts to embarrass people into voting by sharing that information with their neighbours."
#VotingNotRequired

Dr. Munr Kazmir wrote in a 2017 op-ed for The Huffington Post that it is just as much a right and privilege to abstain from voting as it is to cast a ballot.

Even if you DO know a lot about policy, there is no shame in not voting if you find the choices objectionable. Some of the smartest people I know refrain from voting for this very reason.
Every election, many people feel pressured into voting when they really do not know anything about the candidates or issues, beyond maybe a quick article they read just before voting.
Much like Parker and Stone, I am not saying these people shouldn’t vote or don’t have the right to vote. I am simply saying that if they are apathetic or simply don’t want to vote, then they have every right to abstain without being made to feel like a monster.
The constant refrain is that people died for your right to vote. But people seem to be confusing rights with duties. Because much like all other rights, just because you have it, does not mean you need to exercise it if you aren’t comfortable doing so.  
#VotingNotRequired

With shaming voters, there is also a concern that the efforts could backfire. Per USA Today:

"My first reaction was a little shock," said Matthew Kissling of Arlington, Va., a high school government teacher who got one such notice this week. "It was one of those feelings where you're not exactly sure who's invaded your privacy, but someone has invaded your privacy."
It's unclear whether the tactic will be as effective in a high-turnout presidential election. And [Chris] Larimer [a political scientist at the University of Northern Iowa] cautions that the mailings could backfire. When he and his colleagues did their 2006 study, their survey company got more than 300 angry phone calls.
"You don't want to overdo it, or you could have what we would call a boomerang effect, which is where people don't vote because they're mad at you for shaming them," he said.
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should we shame people who don't vote?
A festive crown for the winner
#VotingIsYourDuty
#VotingNotRequired