Friday, August 15, 2014

They want to offer money to get people to vote

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission is recommending an unusual way they think will boost voter turnout. They think the city should do a lottery where people who show up to vote and can a cash prize.

[sigh] This isn't water restrictions where you want people to use less water and don't care if they want to or not. The end result of that is important. The means isn't. The point here isn't to get more people to vote. The point is to make the mayor and city council more representative of the public and have more people choose who they like and have a stake in who wins. I'm not saying people need to be informed but however they make a choice they make a choice.

As Commission President Nathan Hochman says in the article, people can show up, cast a blank ballot, and then be entered in the lottery. What have you accomplished if you do that? He says that eventually maybe they'll vote. He’s not saying he’ll care who they vote for. I’m not one of those snobs who thinks that only informed people should vote. I just think people should choose to do so.

The solution, which is in the article, is simple. Hold it at the same time as the Presidential election. It’s only four months earlier, so it wouldn’t be a big change in dates. Los Angeles had 23% turn-out. San Diego had its mayoral election on the 2012 election day and 69% of registered voters cast their ballot in the race. Sure, there was drop-off from the Presidential vote, but 69% is a total you won’t get on any other date.

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