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October 27, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(9):899. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970260049015

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None of us had to register to vote, and perhaps there are some who did not. None of us has to vote on Nov. 6, either, and there are some who will not. None of us even has to vote for all the offices on the ballot, and election results always show that voters skip over many offices. No, there is no one forcing us to register, no one herding us to the polls, and no one compelling us to fill out the complete ballot. Our voting process is entirely voluntary, with the choice of registering and voting up to the individual. We might even say that the right-to-stay-at-home on election day is a privilege we all have. But all privileges are not always advantageous to us and to society, and certainly a decision to ignore voting can be political suicide from the standpoint of the individual, the community, and

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