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Monday, July 17, 2006

We Should Just Put The Candidate's Names On Scratchcards

There is something both profoundly brilliant and profoundly disturbing about this idea.

To anyone who ever said, “I wouldn’t vote for that bum for a million bucks,” Arizona may be calling your bluff.
A proposal to award $1 million in every general election to one lucky resident, chosen by lottery, simply for voting — no matter for whom — has qualified for the November ballot.

...If the general election in 2004 is a guide, when more than 2 million people voted, the 1-in-2-million odds of winning the election lottery would be far better than the Powerball jackpot (currently about 1 in 146,107,962) but not nearly as great as dying from a lightning strike (1 in 55,928).

Kid Various is not really of the bent that more voter participation equals a better outcome. What schemes like this and motor voter do are draw more uninformed and uninterested people into the voting pool. This has the effect of dumbing down the political discourse (which the media so greatly laments while abetting it every step of the way) as candidates have to compete for the attention of more and more of those who are less inclined to give it.

The Kid would be more interested if, in fact, something like this were used in the primary elections, where the hard edges of each party's lunatic fringe could be softened by an expansion of the voter pool. Soft R's and soft D's are much less likely to vote in primaries than their more partisan cousins. Offering a lottery win that would draw in more registered party members during primaries (not random people) would seem, off hand, to be a good idea.

But The Kid has been known to be wrong.


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