Would you give up your right to vote for a pay raise?

This seems like one of the dumber questions ever asked in a poll in recent memory, but the results are rather remarkable. (Well… remarkable as in a totally dismal, dystopian future sort of way.) The New York Post is reporting on a new survey conducted by LendEDU (so consider the source) which indicates that a shocking number of Americans would be willing to trade away their right to vote for the rest of their lives. And some of them were willing to give that right up pretty cheaply.

More than a third of surveyed American workers (34.98 percent) say they would give up their right to vote in all elections for life in exchange for an immediate pay increase, according to a new LendEDU survey released Tuesday. This backs a recent Credible report that found half of millennials said they would give up their right to vote if it would mean their student loan debts were forgiven.

LendEDU proposed 16 scenarios to 1,238 employed Americans where giving up something would result in an instant 10 percent annual bump in salary. And people will go to some extreme lengths for that extra cash, such as sacrificing their health care and putting in some serious overtime, the survey found.

Half of all millennials would be willing to give up their right to vote if their student loans were paid off? Um… can we get that in writing? Because I’m normally something of a hawk for people taking responsibility for their debt choices, but if they think so little of their right to vote, perhaps they could find better things to do on election day anyway.

To get a ten percent pay bump, people were willing to sacrifice all manner of things. Of course, the most shocking was the fact that more than a third (35%) would surrender their right to vote permanently, and that’s across all age groups. But more than half would also volunteer to work either an extra ten hours a week for life or one day every weekend for a year. Really, folks… if you’re working that much overtime you should have been getting more pay for it to begin with.

Nearly ten percent said they would give up their child’s right to vote for life. Very generous of you, making that sort of decision.

And finally, more than 12% said they would be willing to break up with their spouse, partner or significant other for a 10% raise. Have you ever wondered why the divorce rate is so stubbornly high in this country? It’s because too many people are getting married to people who they actually care less about than the cost of a used Honda.

I realize that wages have been stagnant for several generations in this country while costs continue to increase. (Though that’s finally started to turn around over the past six months.) That’s a problem to be sure. But what’s driving this sort of desperation? Perhaps the more important thing to decide is whether this is actually desperation or a lack of appreciation for their voting rights. Perhaps giving up the right to vote doesn’t strike a lot of people as a big deal because their vote really doesn’t matter all that much.

Or even more to the point, they don’t vote in the first place. Voter turnout in the country never gets over fifty percent of all potentially eligible citizens in the best of years. With more than half of the country never voting to begin with, a ten percent raise is probably a pretty sweet deal if you’re “giving up” something you never did in the first place.

And now that I think about it, given the aforementioned divorce rate, there’s probably at least ten percent out there who don’t much like their spouses either. Perhaps this poll is less shocking than I thought and actually just a depressing reflection of a reality we already knew about.