A Perverse Incentive to Not Vote?

From a reader named Kyle Gregory:

I decided about a year ago that I am not going to vote and happened to find a neat little trick for those of us who take this stance.
I’m not sure about other states, but in Virginia, jury duty is determined by voter registration. I moved a couple of years ago, but never changed my voter registration since I didn’t plan on voting. I recently received notification of jury duty at my parents’ address where I am still registered to vote. The notification form has a section to fill out stating that you have not lived in that county in the past 6 months, which automatically disqualifies you from jury duty! So, as long as I do not want to vote, I am also exempt from having to do jury duty!

Steve G

That might work if you also don't drive. Some states also use DMV records for the jury pool.


I understand and accept that people have different reasons for not wanting to vote and while voting is undoubtedly a right guaranteed to all citizens, whether or not it is a duty may fall on each individual to determine. However, i believe that skipping out on jury service for the sake of skipping out on it and not having a legitimate reason for not being able to serve is pretty low. I hope you are never in a position where you are in need of a jury of your peers, for if everyone thought as you do, you'd find yourself at the mercy of a room full of nothing but the sound of crickets. I don't believe that there can be a question that jury service IS a duty of every citizen.


I just want to give this reason for not voting a big thumbs down.


i hope you dont renew your drivers license as it will automatically forward your info to voter's registration. Unless your DL still says your parents address...

Mark Norman

I would guess that the thinking was that if you were informed enough to vote, you would make an objective juror. Since so many are now voting based on a very narrow wish list or based on nothing more than the last ad they saw, I wish more would adopt your attitude. Keep up the good work.


Gosh, Kyle... thanks for being such a darn good citizen!

Not voting is your right. Each person should choose who they vote or do not vote for. However, jury duty is part of being a responsible contributing adult in this society.

Go ahead an brag about it. Jerk.

Philo Pharynx

Whenever I see a news article about a trial outcome with an illogical verdict, I always think "everybody smart enough to get out of jury duty got out that day."

Of course I once got to ride an amusement park ride as part of jury duty...

Richard Lynch

Nice example of civic duty times two.

Ryan P

In Texas, all you have to do is write a hot check for $5, and you are forever banned from jury duty (assuming the D.A. takes the time, effort and expense to file the misdemeanor charges and convict you).


Alaska has a good system now. They used to use multiple sources for compiling the jury list which involved IIRC voter registration, hunting and fishing licenses, and DMV records. Now they just use names from the Permanent Fund Dividend list -- sign up to receive your cash bonus from the state's oil revenue account's interest and you are eligible for jury duty. Presumably, if you don't want the bonus money you shouldn't be picked for a jury. Seems fair enough.


Letting everyone else choose your leaders is one thing, but letting everyone else administer your justice is probably not a good idea. What goes around comes around.

Abigail Gorton

Perverse incentive not to become a citizen? In California, I received jury summons many times and sent them all back as 'not a citizen'. They took my name from the drivers license, I assume. Oh well, I pledged allegiance last month so I guess I can't get out of it any more.


Some states use driver's license records as well as voter registration to find jurors. If you don't want to be a juror, toss the notice and say you never got it. You can't get into trouble if they cannot prove you were served with a jury duty summons.


It's a shame that he's using not voting as an way to avoid jury duty. He's shirking two civic duties in one. The whole point of jury duty is so we may have a jury of our peers, so our fellow citizens decide who is guilty instead of a government official.

They just don't teach civics like they used to.