Electoral Lotto

I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of my regular readers vote (why would you be reading a political blog if you weren’t vested in the process?), but on the odd chance that any of you don’t, would the prospect of winning a million bucks change your attitude?

Of the four top gubernatorial candidates, only independent Kinky Friedman would favor having a $1 million lottery to get people to vote.

“I’d favor anything that would get more than 29 percent of Texans to vote,” Friedman said, citing the percentage of voting-age adults who turned out in the 2002 governor’s race.

Arizona voters this fall will have the opportunity to vote on a ballot measure that would set up an election lottery. Anyone who voted would be eligible to win $1 million.

The petition to get the Arizona Voter Reward Act on the ballot was pushed through by a politician who is frustrated with what he perceived as Arizona’s low voter turnout, according to The New York Times. Although 77 percent of the state’s registered voters cast ballots in the 2004 presidential race, just 56 percent voted in the 2002 governor’s race.

Of course Friedman favors this. It’s unsubstantive yet flashy and attention-getting, so it’s tailor made for him.

I believe in making it as easy and convenient as possible to register and vote. Same day registration, voting by mail, voting centers – there are lots of proposals I’d favor to lower the bar to entry in Texas. But at the end of the day, if the idea of voting for its own sake isn’t good enough to draw someone to the polls, then I can’t say I’m unhappy by his or her absence. I too wish more people voted, but I really wish more people participated in the sorts of activity that naturally lead to voting, like joining civic organizations and attending public meetings. I don’t know how to make it easier to do those things. I do know that when people talk about the world being run by those who bother to show up, that’s what they mean. If that doesn’t do it for you, then you may as well leave it to someone else.

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One Response to Electoral Lotto

  1. Timothy says:

    An election lotto will only attract uninformed voters. It will lead to more voters, but these people will be merely guessing on most of the issues and races. Citizens should want to vote because they genuinely believe the outcome matters.

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