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You be the jury: Was this man right to pay his son not to vote?

During the election both parties raced to register new voters and encourage those who wouldn't otherwise vote to be an active citizen. One local man did the opposite and paid his son not to vote. (Photo: Associated Press/File)

A listener recently sent Dori a D-Mail about one of her neighbors, who paid his son, Steve, to not register to vote. Steve’s father said that it was to protect the country from his son, who he thinks would be an irresponsible and uninformed voter. Steve’s mother, however, thinks it’s wrong to pay off their son to discourage him from voting.

You be the jury: Do you agree with the boy’s mother or his father; Is Steve’s dad wrong to pay him not to vote?

Read the letter below and decide, then check out what other listeners are saying:

Hi Dori,

I know the election is over and most people are trying to move on, but my next-door neighbors have a problem. We’re all big fans of your show, so they agreed that you and your listeners should help them out.

Here’s the deal: my neighbors have a son named Steve*. He turned 18 in May. He’s a nice enough kid, and as far as I know, he’s never been in trouble with the law. Unfortunately, Steve’s dad doesn’t think he’s very smart. Even the mom agrees. Steve still lives at home – rent free – but he doesn’t have a job and he isn’t motivated enough to go to college or trade school.

Consequently, when it came time to register to vote, Steve’s dad said “no.” Basically, he told Steve that he wasn’t responsible enough to either vote or buy a lottery ticket. In fact, Steve’s dad has promised to give him $100 if he will wait until his 19th birthday to register. He even told Steve that if he still doesn’t think he’s ready, he’ll pay him again to NOT REGISTER TO VOTE.

Candidly, the mom doesn’t think her son would make an informed voter either, but she thinks the dad’s pay-off is wrong. I’m not sure what to think – but I bet your listeners will.

Kathy in North Seattle

P.S. You might be surprised to know the parents are pretty smart: both have college degrees, decent jobs and call themselves neither Republican or Democrat. I think they lean Libertarian – a bit like you.

What you’re saying on Facebook:

Vanessa Harrington: if the son is willing to give up is right to vote for $100, then the dad is right: he’s too irresponsible.

Angela Graves: I think the dad should pay more to the kid. After all, the parents are at fault for not making sure he learned to become ‘educated’ with the issues. Or to better himself. My son was very educated on the issues before he voted for the first time this year (on his 18th birthday).

Fay St Louis Loux: I would have held out for more.

Kristian Baldwin: It’s the child’s right to vote. I think it’s an awful thing the father did…

Jason Douglas Rose: That’s a pretty slippery slope there. On one hand, you have a father who wants to prevent the spread of idiocy. But on the other hand, we have one person blocking another person’s right to vote. I just “inherited” a 16-year-old girl who I believe to be one of the most selfish, irresponsible, and impulsive people I know. So far, just about every decision has been a bad one. But if she’s 18 and still acting like that, do I take away her vote? How about her right to free speech? As much as I may want to, the answer has to be no. I’ll use “temporary taxes” as an example here: Where does it end?

Eric True: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Eileen Paterno: The mom is right to be upset. Everyone has the right to vote.

*Names changed to protect individuals’ privacy.

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