But if it won't, here's one possible incentive: Your voting receipt could become a Mega Millions lottery ticket.
One of the major problems contributing to the extraordinary dysfunction of the American political system is the series of voting processes that gives immense influence to the extreme, ideologically driven bases of the two major parties. In today's base-driven elections, party strategists try to maximize the turnout of their own base -- usually by frightening them to death about the consequences if the "enemy" prevails -- while minimizing the turnout of the other side by any means necessary and available.
In my view, the best way to ameliorate this malign dynamic is to find ways to enlarge the electorate in primaries and general elections -- to move our politics to where persuadable voters in the middle have more impact. If I could do one thing to counter our dysfunction, it would be to adopt a version of the Australian system of mandatory attendance at the polls.
For more than 70 years in Australia, registered voters have been required to show up at the polls on Election Day. While they do not have to vote -- they can cast ballots for "none of the above" -- a failure to appear incurs a fine of roughly $15. (This fine can be avoided by writing a letter explaining why illness, travel, or another legitimate excuse kept one away.) Demonstrating that relatively small incentives or disincentives can have a large effect on behavior (see the book Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein), every Australian election since the system's implementation has had a turnout of over 90 percent. Over time, Australians have been inculcated with the idea that voting is a civic responsibility.