This article appeared in the April 11, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Call it ‘taxation with representation’

Brendan McDermid/Reuters/File
A voter is seen at a polling station during the New York primary elections in the Manhattan borough of New York City, April 19, 2016. Voter turnout in the United States trails most developed nations.
Noelle Swan
Weekly Editor

This weekend, millions of Americans will likely be scrambling to meet one of the most universal civic obligations: filing taxes.

Despite grumbles over complex tax codes, more than 90% of Americans see the tax bill as their duty as citizens. That’s no surprise in a country that waged its independence, in part, in defiance of taxation without representation.

But what if the nation used tax season as an occasion to facilitate participation in another civic duty – voting? Call it “taxation with representation.”

In 2018, more than 250 million Americans submitted a tax return. That’s more than double the number of people who voted in the 2018 election.

Coupling voter registration with tax preparation could not only increase the size of the voter pool, but also make it more representative of the actual population, argues Vanessa Williamson, a governance studies fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

An experimental study conducted in Dallas and Cleveland found that offering voter registration as a part of tax filing “more than doubled the likelihood of an unregistered person registering to vote,” reports Ms. Williamson.

Two-thirds of Americans agree that voter participation is a fundamental problem in the United States. Getting two-thirds of eligible voters to the polls would be a good start.

Today, we’re watching Sudan, where the military has arrested the longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir and taken control of the country. 

Now to our five stories for today, exploring Mexico’s shifting tolerance of migrants, perceptions of wealth and greed in the United States, and an alternative way for low-income residents in Spain to earn their keep.

This article appeared in the April 11, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 04/11 edition
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