Great points! Yes, the Australian model probably would not work here. I would not think our civic fabric would improve with punitive fines from not voting. However, I lean toward some sort of incentive to visit the voting booth on occasion. Perhaps tied to driver’s license renewals, e.g., must vote in a primary or general election within a designated timeframe –four years?– or you cannot renew your driver’s license. Just a thought.
Apathy is noteworthy and today permeates all areas of citizenship from political campaigns or voting to actual governance processes and citizen (dis)interest and participation. We could have a whole forum devoted to identifying and discussing those social and economic reasons.