AMERICAN GOVERNMENT

1William Galston of the University of Maryland and the Brookings Institution notes that some democracies, including Australia and Italy, require citizens to vote or pay a fine. These countries have exceptionally high turnout levels. “Our low turnout rate,” Galston says, “pushes American politics toward increased polarization.

Would you favor a law requiring Americans to vote or pay a fine if they fail to do so? What are some other incentives that might encourage more people to vote? If the United States had such a policy do you think, as William Galston does, that it would significantly reduce the level of party polarization?

2. There have been many major transportation related incidents in recent years involving hazardous materials. If a major incident were to occur in your community, discuss whether or not the current level of emergency response services provided by your community, businesses, and the government would be adequate? Describe what programs are currently in place, what actions are being taken, or what actions should be taken by your local emergency response agencies to prepare for such incidents?