Monday, August 07, 2006

Millionaire Voters

In a rather bizarre approach to getting people into the voting booths, Arizona is considering making general elections into 1 million dollar lotteries.

So far, it look slike this will be on the ballot in November.
Mark Osterloh, who has spearheaded the measure onto the ballot, says "it's just like religion: Sometimes incentives are necessary.

"What does God say? Do what you're supposed to do and I will reward you with eternal life in heaven," he said. "The only thing we're saying is do what you're supposed to do with voting and we'll reward you with a chance to win a million dollars."
Well, I for one think it's a horrid idea -- we have enough people who are uninformed and generally ignorant of political issues and candidates who are voting based on soundbites or whether they think one of the candidates is handsomer/prettier than the other. Do we really want the yahoos who would only be interested in voting if they nmight get something for it, to be voting?

There are arguments that it's patently illegal. Federal statues prohibit offering money or giftst to to someone to vote or to change their vote, or for taking money to do either of those things.

Frankly (and unfortuantely also illegally), I think that voters should have to show some basic understanding of the issues and candidates before voting. It should be an essay question, or something. If you can't actually summon a single fact about the person you're voting for, you should have to take a remedial course, or something.

It's hard to stay informed. There is no way you can be a passive receptor of news (from radio or tv) and actually be well informed. You have to actually invest the time and effort to look for alternate viewpoints and accurate information about the issues.

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