Paying people to Vote

I’ve commented before on how low turnouts in our elections are the worst thing that can happen in a country such as ours. People seem to not vote for all kinds of reasons (most of them quite valid) but we have to get people to vote anyway. And not just for certain candidates or parties, we need them to vote for anyone. Turnouts are a good thing no matter how you look at them.

This took me a while to post but there was an article in the New York Times called “Arizona Ballot Could Become Lottery Ticket(by Randal Archibold) that reports on an idea in Arizona that is going to be up for a referendum in the November election there where one voter will win $1M just for voting. It’s a lottery for people who vote with great odds (compared to the real lottery).

This is an odd idea, but it may just work. There are detractors who feel that it is considered bribery but I’m not sure they are thinking clearly here. It’s simply a door prize and it’s simply an incentive. In some senses it’s simply sad that we need to incentivise people to vote, but it can work. Turnout (no matter what people say) is a good thing for democracy.

But we also need to make voting easier. For example, here in Philadelphia it’s very difficult to find your polling place amoung the 100 or so divisions. Why not have 4 or 5 voting centers instead? There are dozens of ways we can improve the system and make it more reliable and make it more open and trustworthy. We just need to get moving and start pusing for changes.

2 thoughts on “Paying people to Vote

  1. i wonder how long they’ll keep it up. will it go on forever? when it stops, will there be a public outcry? will there be a public outcry for more states to hvae voting lotteries?

    jeez, we’ve turned into reward seeking dogs when it comes to the lamest of civic responsibilities.

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  2. Yea.. it’s pretty sad.. Though from how I read the article, the actual lottery won’t be in effect in November. That election will only have the ballot question “should we enact a voting lottery”.. which is pretty interesting in itself..

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