The Election Lottery
posted by Jason Mazzone
Voter turnout in the United States is among the lowest of all democracies. While pointy-headed professors have offered various proposals for increasing turnout at the polls–mandatory voting (as in countries like Australia), internet voting, easier registration, and a national holiday so voters don’t have to take time off work–an opthamologist in Arizona has come up with a proposal that could have have mass appeal.
Dr. Mark Osterloh is leading a ballot initiative that would make available a $1 million prize in each election in the state. The prize funds would come from unclaimed state lottery winnings. Upon casting a vote, the voter would have a chance at the loot.
My guess, having seen hordes of people line up for hours for powerball tickets, is that a chance at prize money would bring some people to the polls who would otherwise stay away–but that $1 million is probably too low to have much overall effect.