Yes, according to this article a man in Arizona is trying to get this to happen.
His plan is to take unclaimed prize money from the Arizona lottery and set it aside for one lucky voter to win after the election. You get one “entry” for voting in the primary and another “entry” for voting in the general election. So if you voted in both elections, you would have two chances to win the prize.
His theory is that more people might vote if they thought they had a chance to win a million dollars.
Although this is a sad commentary on the political system, I kind of think it is not all that stupid. If more people voted, the winners would be more representative of the general public and not just a minority of highly motivated voters that are pandered to by the officials running for office.
For instance, even if 85% of the public is for or against a certain policy, elected officials are usually more concerned with how that policy plays with the (minority) voting public and be damned what the general public thinks.
So, using that theory, perhaps this might be a way for future candidates to actually stand up for a policy that might not fly well with the traditional hard core voters.
Exactly. It’s high time that people who care little for democracy and suck at math to have their voice heard.
I think the positive effect of more people voting is outweighed by the likelihood of more ill-informed people voting. If your motivation is money rather than concern for the issues or even civic duty, you shouldn’t be voting.
If the chance at winning was 1 in 5,000,000 (rounding Arizona’s population), your odds are marginally better than most million-plus lotteries.
I remember a story floating around years ago that if the IRS gave $100,000,000 tax free to ten randomly selected individual taxpayers (who first had to pass an audit), the resulting increase in compliance would more than off-set the $1 billion in prizes. I doubt any scientific research was ever brought to bear on determining the veracity of the claim, but it’s cool sounding glurge.
I see your point, but if I am not mistaken, Belgium has mandatory voting (otherwise you cannot get a passport) and voters in droves doesn’t necessarily mean voters are witless drones.
My guess is that if someone were going to vote to win that million bucks, they would at least give some consideration before voting. And I would bet the majority of those voters, depite the motives, are more well-informed than you might think, but traditionally too lazy or busy to go cast a vote.
It’s also a better deal than most lotteries, because you don’t pay to vote.
There’s no way you could lose money by voting in this system, so why is it only for people who suck at math?
Most people who vote probably don’t care much about democracy- they’re just trying to get their favored candidate or proposition to win, or to get a candidate or proposition they don’t like to lose. That’s certainly why I’ve voted in most of the elections I’ve voted in (except for the 1996 presidential election, where I voted primarily because it gave me an excuse to go to the Roy Rogers at the student union, which had much better food than the dorm food). I’d say the ones who actually vote because of a commitment to the democratic process are definitely in the minority among voters. And the decision of which candidate or proposition to support isn’t always made by rationally considering the issues, either- for example, the taller presidential candidate is more likely to win. Does that mean that tall people are more likely to have popular views on issues, or that looks are an issue for some voters in choosing a candidate?
I laughed at this at first, but after I thought about it a little, I think it’s a good idea.
I would take issue with the idea that someone is ‘well-informed but too lazy to vote’. A reasonably well-informed person will vote, unless they are intentionally protesting (and won’t come out for the bribe either).
Mandatory voting is different from instituting prizes for those who vote; if you are brought up with mandatory voting, you are more likely to see it as your duty to be informed than if you are motivated by money. I don’t doubt that some people might make more of an effort to learn about the candidates, but I still think it’s a lousy way to do it. Anne Neville, it’s for people who suck at math because the only motivation being offered here is money. Considering the odds (in a practical, not mathematical, sense), it’s essentially worthless, therefore someone motivated by this to vote would suck at math.
I’ve assumed that such people exist; maybe they don’t, in which case this is merely a reward for voting, and probably a waste of money.
Also, ‘voting to try and get your candidate to win’ is exactly part of democracy. I didn’t mean that people vote for the sake of voting, but that those who don’t are ignoring any part of it.