Is Your Vote Worth More Than an iPod?

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Here’s another story that will no doubt be dumped into the Those Apathetic Millenials file, so let me preemptively remind you that the youth turnout in 2006 was the biggest ever in a mid-term election.

That said, this is sad: A survey of NYU students finds that 20 percent would forfeit their right to vote in the 2008 election in exchange for an iPod. Two-thirds said they’d give it up in exchange for free tuition. Alright, politicians suck and higher education is exorbitantly expensive, so I understand why someone would see it as worthwhile to sit out this election in return for a four-year free ride at a great school (worth $140,000+ at current rates). But giving up your vote for a $300 piece of soon-to-be-obsolete electronics? That’s nuts, yet considering that a vote once could be bought with free beer, this could be taken as evidence that the value of a vote has risen considerably. (The survey also found that half of respondents would give up voting forever for $1 million.) But the real question is, just how low would a vote-trading college kid (or Gen X-er or Boomer for that matter) go? I bet that would be truly discouraging. And likely would involve free beer.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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