It's hard to understand why people vote. If we put aside social pressure (e.g., what your friends and family think) and sense of duty, a rational person should be embarrassed at having wasted any time at all on voting—in the same way that a rational person would be embarrassed at having bought a lottery ticket.
To address this problem, one might consider a compulsory voting system where it takes the same effort to vote as to cast a "no vote". It's compulsory in the sense that if you do nothing, then you will be subject to a significant fine.
But even such a system is not enough as people could simply vote randomly. In fact, a rational person should vote randomly since admitting to having voted otherwise would be embarrassing given the insignificant probability of making a difference.
So how do we require people not only to vote (possibly casting a "no vote") but also think carefully about their choice?
- Compulsory Voting in Blocks
To vote for X you would need to write the names of at least k other people whom you know are voting for X (this applies also for a "no vote"). This would encourage more people to have discussions with their friends/family and think more carefully about their choice. However, one could argue that rational people would select a candidate randomly in blocks (since again for small k, the probability of making a difference is insignificant).
- Compulsory Voting with Consequences
Voters would be personally responsible for their choice. In particular, an objective measure would be used several years later to see whether their choice was a good one and they would be penalized/awarded financially correspondingly. This is sort of like a prediction market for politics with real money.
Do you have better ideas to require people not only to vote but to also take their vote seriously?