I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, hey, maybe let’s not deceive people when it involves matters of voting, at all, period.
I got here after Elle magazine tweeted this today:
If you click through, you reach a landing page for an Elle-branded version of the Michelle Obama-backed voter registration initiative When We All Vote. My immediate reaction, as a dipshit who cares enough about Kim and Kanye news to click, was something akin to disappointment—a troubling feeling to associate with registering to vote, which should be inherently good. (I’m also genuinely curious whether this is actually working on anyone, and have reached out to Elle to ask.)
When I tweeted about the icky feelings the tweet generated, others pointed out that Alamo Drafthouse, the dine-in movie theater chain with an infamous no talking policy and a bad track record when it comes to handling sexual misconduct, recently tried their hand at this kind of tactic too. A post on the chain’s site from last week does indeed as the provocative question: “Should we repeal our talking and texting policy?” Then you read on:
That’s right, after years of kicking people out for being rude, we’re leaving it up to you guys. Should we continue to enforce our No Talking/No Texting policy, or do you want us to relax and let it all hang out? Time to decide...
... okay, just kidding.
We know that movies are so important to a great many of you, and that’s why we take the viewing experience seriously. But – believe it or not – they simply aren’t the most important thing in your life. So if you cared enough to take a poll about talking during movies, we hope you’re voting in the midterm elections on November 6th, because they are the most important in your lifetime. You. Must. Vote.
Haha, OK! *Closes window*
Again, these efforts should be good on their face! Registering more reticent young people to vote should be a net positive. But making people feel stupid or tricked or attaching any other negative emotion to carrying out your civic duty feels like the wrong way to go about it.
More importantly, in an age where registering to vote the old-fashioned way is a herculean enough task—and when potential voters are inundated with bad or misleading information—you shouldn’t attach any additional confusion to the issue of voting, even if your motives are pure.
This is my take, which I humbly offer. Please tear me to shreds in the comments below!