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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Voting Shouldn’t get you Jury Duty

Homer Simpson once said that Voting only got people Jury Duty and that was the reason why he didn’t vote. It was a powerful commentary on why Americans don’t participate in their government.
Many Americans don’t register to vote because their name and address wind up on Jury Duty master wheels.

Personally, I feel that policy prevents most Americans from participating in the electoral process. Voting should have nothing to do with Jury Duty. In fact nothing should get in the way of getting voters to the polls.

I feel taking the addresses from voter lists to create master jury wheels abridges “The People’s” Constitutional right to choose their representatives and Senators and other officials through elections as stated in the 14th, 15th, 19th, 23rd 24th and 26th Amendments.

With so many elections critical to the direction of the country these days I feel it’s time for Federal, State, and local governments to stop using voter lists for master jury wheels. All over the country there were elections decided by a few hundred or so votes or even a dozen votes in some cases.

Imagine if all those people sitting on the sidelines avoiding Jury Duty summonses participated in those elections and voted. Imagine how their votes could have changed the makeup of The Presidency, The Senate, The Congress and many state local elections. Imagine how they could have changed the direction of the country.

Voting shouldn’t lead to people getting a jury Duty notice. All a vote in an election should get an American is an opportunity to choose the politicians who will represent their interests for the next two to four years. Those mailing lists should only be used for letting voters know about elections and nothing else.

If the courts want to find a place to get a pool of perspective jurors, I suggest they make their system all volunteer instead of compulsory. And make compensation for serving competitive with today’s living wages. Maybe if the courts compensated in proportion with today's wages people would be interested in participating in supporting the judicial system by serving on trials. Currently a Jury allowance won’t even pay for parking in most states.

Personally, I think it’s time America got rid of its compulsory Jury Duty system and make it an all-volunteer system that compensates people in proportion to standard wages. Moreover, these allowances should be tax-free and not counted as income for public assistance like Americorps* subsidence allowances are. If a citizen’s right to due process under the law is so important, then all branches of government should have no problem spending money to help people get justice.

Voting and Jury Duty are two separate things. And one shouldn’t lead to the other.

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