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Arizona man proposes lottery to increase voter turnout

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Arizona man proposes lottery to increase voter turnout

Cast a vote, win a million.

If an Arizona man has his way, every person who votes in his state will automatically have his or her name entered in a in draw to win $1 million. Mark Osterloh, an Arizona physician and attorney, is proposing a state law that would act as an incentive to increase voter turnout.

The long-time advocate of electoral policy reform says the idea is a variation on a highly successful law in Australia, under which citizens who fail to vote are fined.

Such a penalty would be unconstitutional in the United States, since freedom of speech includes the freedom not to speak. But Osterloh believes his incentive-based system could be just as effective.

Currently, only one in four Arizona residents exercise the right to vote.

"Who do you know that doesn't want to be an millionaire?" asks Osterloh. "People tell me, 'Darn right, I'll start voting for that.'"

Osterloh is in the process of securing the 122,612 signatures he needs to land his proposal on November's election ballot. If voters say yes, his idea will become state law and, every two years, a million greenbacks will be awarded at random to an Arizona voter.

The prize will come from the Arizona Lottery's unclaimed money pool.

Osterloh maintains that the current electoral system is out of whack with the spirit of a capitalist society. As it stands, the rewards associated with voting are too convoluted to garner widespread participation. Voting - like studying for a school exam or working overtime - needs to present a more immediate and obvious benefit, Osterloh says.

"Our whole capitalist economy is based on the idea of incentives. Capitalism won out over communism because we have incentives built into our system."

But isn't this a bastardization of the democratic process? Shouldn't voters go to the polls out of a sense of duty, rather than in hopes of hitting the jackpot?

Osterloh reminds us that incentive-laden systems are consistent with the Christian paradigm.

"God says, 'Do what you're supposed to do, and I will reward you with eternal life in heaven,'" he argues. "That's what we're saying: 'Do what you're supposed to do and vote, and we will reward you with a chance to be a millionaire.'

"If incentives are good enough for God, they're good enough for the voters of Arizona."

Built into his proposal is a clever clause that would activate the lottery retroactively to the 2006 election, the one in which the proposal is on the ballot. It's an incentive to activate the incentive.

"We're going to tell everybody, 'Look, you better hurry and register and vote if you want to win that first million,'" says Osterloh. "So, you get a big increase in voters.

"By the time they go to a ballot box, they'll already know the process works."

For Osterloh, who ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate for governor of Arizona in 2002, this labour of love is the latest in a string of initiatives designed to clean up the electoral process. He was a co-author of a law that made Arizona one of the few states where it's illegal for candidates to accept campaign contributions from the private sector.

"That way, you don't own anyone any favours when you're get into office," he says. "You're only there to represent the public, not campaign contributors."

Toronto Star

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18 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by tg636.
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United States
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Posted: April 9, 2006, 1:05 pm - IP Logged

Would the $1 million be lump sum, annuity-only, or with a cash option?

You only need to be 18 to vote. AFAIK all forms of gambling in AZ require the participant to be 21.

    RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
    mid-Ohio
    United States
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    March 24, 2001
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    Posted: April 9, 2006, 1:17 pm - IP Logged

    Sounds like a great idea if only the people who vote has to contribute to the prize pool.  Forcing non-voters to support the prize pool with their taxes would be a taxation without representation.

     * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
       
                 Evil Looking       


      United States
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      Posted: April 10, 2006, 11:23 am - IP Logged

      Maybe it would be not considered a lottery if people did not have to put up money. Many sweepstakes say "no purchase necessary".

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        November 16, 2005
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        Posted: April 10, 2006, 1:55 pm - IP Logged

        I think this is a BAD idea. I like playing the lottery,  but I play for recreation.  Voting is serious a civic duty. Voting is your voice in the government.  If you were to add the sweepstakes like atmosphere of a million dollar prize, it would cause people to think of voting as some sweepstake and not a serious vote on issues or political ideas.  People should vote because they feel the government should represent certain ideals.  Adding this is a mistake because voter apathy is already bad enough this will make people think it's even more of a joke.  Some people will vote without knowing anything about canidates  or issues just to enter to win the prize.  Lotteries and elections should be seperate.    Just my 2cents.

          Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
          Chief Bottle Washer
          New Jersey
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          Posted: April 10, 2006, 1:58 pm - IP Logged

          I think this is a BAD idea. I like playing the lottery,  but I play for recreation.  Voting is serious a civic duty. Voting is your voice in the government.  If you were to add the sweepstakes like atmosphere of a million dollar prize, it would cause people to think of voting as some sweepstake and not a serious vote on issues or political ideas.  People should vote because they feel the government should represent certain ideals.  Adding this is a mistake because voter apathy is already bad enough this will make people think it's even more of a joke.  Some people will vote without knowing anything about canidates  or issues just to enter to win the prize.  Lotteries and elections should be seperate.    Just my 2cents.

          I Agree!  I personally don't think everyone should vote.  I think the only people who should vote are the ones who have taken the proper time to understand the issues and care about them enough to go to the polls.  I don't want a group of know-nothing lame-o's deciding who is going to run the government.

           

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            United States
            Member #972
            December 30, 2002
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            Posted: April 10, 2006, 2:03 pm - IP Logged

            Lottery tickets are fun I guess, but if they seriously want a bigger turn out, try these.

            *Elections free of fraud and electronic voting machines.

            *Elections where the candidates and parties represent the interests of the American people, not corporations, the military, multi millionaires, Israel or Saudi Arabia. 

            *Elections where the two major parties won't act in collusion to toss billions of your tax dollars away in useless and vile foreign wars.  Unless there are people who enjoy both losing 28% of their pay and killing Iraqis.

            *Elections where all citizens can vote, even if they have been to prison and/or are black.

            *Elections held on days most people have off from work or a saturday or sunday.

              Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
              Chief Bottle Washer
              New Jersey
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              Posted: April 10, 2006, 3:57 pm - IP Logged

              Lottery tickets are fun I guess, but if they seriously want a bigger turn out, try these.

              *Elections free of fraud and electronic voting machines.

              *Elections where the candidates and parties represent the interests of the American people, not corporations, the military, multi millionaires, Israel or Saudi Arabia. 

              *Elections where the two major parties won't act in collusion to toss billions of your tax dollars away in useless and vile foreign wars.  Unless there are people who enjoy both losing 28% of their pay and killing Iraqis.

              *Elections where all citizens can vote, even if they have been to prison and/or are black.

              *Elections held on days most people have off from work or a saturday or sunday.

              I disagree with just about everything you said, and here's why:

              • Electronic voting machines are much more accurate than manual voting methods, as shown in the 2000 Florida elections.  We don't want any more "hanging chad" elections like that one, where politicos start counting votes based on "voter intent" determined by how much a piece of paper is torn.  That election was an utter debacle, and it had nothing to do with Bush.  We should be encouraging electronic voting machines.
              • The first three things you mentioned -- corporations, the military, and millionaires -- ARE ALL AMERICAN PEOPLE.  Are you somehow saying that they should not be represented?  People who are anti-corporation generally do not understand that their anti-corporation ways are actually harmful to themselves.  Many people do not realize that when they hurt corporations, they put themselves out of a job.  And then they blame the corporation for not giving them a job.  Corporations are the backbone of America, and they are what makes our entire economy work.  Like anything, some corporations are bad, but that is the vast minority.
              • You're obviously expressing your disdain for the Iraq war in your third point, and let's just say that we have completely differing viewpoints on that one.  Our money is well-spent there, as we removed a mini-Hitler, who in the long run may have become just as terrible as the real Hitler.  Now that we are translating the thousands of pages of documentation we discovered there, it turns out he was actively collaborating with terrorists for a long time, and things were a lot WORSE than we thought.  If the USA had been as bold when Hitler came to power as George Bush has been with Iraq, World War II would have been a lot shorter and less bloody.  Thank God George Bush is running the show, and thank God we all elected him.
              • In your fourth point, you're implying that blacks do not have the right to vote.  That is not only preposterous, but it is dangerous and divisive language used by race-baters.  And the criminals gave up their right to vote when they took away the rights of someone else.  I don't think coddling criminals leads to a better society, it leads to anarchy.
              • Companies are required to give people time to vote on election day, so I don't see your point.  Plus, what about the millions of people who work on the weekends?  Lots of people vote on their way to or from work, and they make it a priority to get to the polls.  I don't think we need to adjust the date, just because some people can't juggle 15 minutes in their busy day to go vote.  If they absolutely could not make it to the polls on election day, and they really cared about voting, they would vote with an absentee ballot.  But that requires caring and prioritizing about voting.

               

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                United States
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                Posted: April 10, 2006, 4:57 pm - IP Logged

                Saddam was a brutal vile dictator, but let's face it, the US is not against all dictators and does not invade a country just because it is ruled by a brutal vile dictator. I don't have time to respond to all of this, but here's a list of all the mini-Hitlers the US has had no trouble supporting over the years. http://www.omnicenter.org/warpeacecollection/dictators.htm 

                That's quite a list, and it should tell you that the US has no problem with mini-Hitlers who do the bidding of the US. In fact, Saddam was supported by the US for a number of years on the CIA payroll.  The US wasn't even motivated to go after Saddam when he gassed the Kurds in 1988, or taking him out of power in 1991, so apparently it takes more than a large killing of innocents to motivate the US. So supporting brutal dictators is okay with the US and mass killing is also okay with the US (in that by itself it is not enough to invade a country to stop it). We also know Saddam (and Bush knew it as well) did not have a nuclear or biological bomb, Saddam was not involved in the 9/11 attacks and after the 1991 Iraq War Saddam showed no signs of invading Kuwait or any neighboring country again. 

                Feel free to direct readers to a web site explaining more about thousands of pages of documentation. Again, atrocities and torture in and of themselves are not enough to motivate the US to invade a country.

                 >Thank God George Bush is running the show, and thank God we all elected him.

                 God may thank George Bush, but the latest polls show only 36% of Americans approve of his actions. And it has been pretty well established that Bush was elected by fraud in both 2000 and 2004.

                 

                 >You're obviously expressing your disdain for the Iraq war in your third point, and let's just say that we have completely differing viewpoints on that one.  Our money is well-spent there, as we removed a mini-Hitler, who in the long run may have become just as terrible as the real Hitler.  Now that we are translating the thousands of pages of documentation we discovered there, it turns out he was actively collaborating with terrorists for a long time, and things were a lot WORSE than we thought.  If the USA had been as bold when Hitler came to power as George Bush has been with Iraq, World War II would have been a lot shorter and less bloody.  Thank God George Bush is running the show, and thank God we all elected him.

                  Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                  Chief Bottle Washer
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                  Posted: April 10, 2006, 5:23 pm - IP Logged

                  That's OK, I'm used to hearing the liberal talking points, because I hear them every time I turn on the "news".

                  I do not subscribe to the theory that liberals put forth about the USA being such a terrible country that goes around spreading violence. 

                  In fact, there has never been a country in the history of the world which had so much power, but used so little of it.  You should remember that the next time you read something about all the "bad deeds" that we apprently do.  Because those talking points are written by people who do not like this country.

                  And I don't worry about the useless polls that are trumped up by the mainstream media, and the outfits like "Gallup".  Those are the same polls that said that Bush would lose to both Gore and Kerry.  And after 10,000 recounts, Bush still won.

                  Liberals take comfort in their polls, and I suppose if that's what gets you through the day, then more power to you.  Myself, I only care about the results, which is that conservatism is ruling the day over the tired and wrong-headed liberalism.

                   

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                    konane's avatar - wallace
                    Atlanta, GA
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                    Posted: April 10, 2006, 5:27 pm - IP Logged

                    tg636 "Feel free to direct readers to a web site explaining more about thousands of pages of documentation. Again, atrocities and torture in and of themselves are not enough to motivate the US to invade a country. "

                    ___________________

                    This serves as a beginning point.  Link will take you to a PDF, but a smart person could follow the links crumb trail to find the rest which explain Saddam's INTENT to use his WMD's on the US. 

                    Seems intent is a step or two above being a savage torturer, murderer of his own people.

                    http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents-docex/Iraq/Released-20060315/ISGQ-2003-M0004667.pdf 

                    My blog has plenty of links regarding WMD's should you care to inform yourself.

                    Good luck to everyone!

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                      New Member
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                      Posted: April 10, 2006, 11:29 pm - IP Logged

                      Didnt know this was a political forum lol

                        justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                        Wandering Aimlessly
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                        Posted: April 11, 2006, 1:33 am - IP Logged

                        Todd, you are the chief cook & bottle washer here, and I thank you for such a wonderful website. So I'm not going to get into a political debate. The one thing I wish people would stop doing is bringing up God when talking about George Bush.  We all have opinions and it is our right as Americans to voice them. However, please keep God out of political discussions. Everyone who knew Ronald Reagan says he was a very religious man who spent hours talking to God in the valley. I don't remember hearing him tell the American people that his Presidency was a calling from God. Bush, not being as eloquent as Mr. Reagan, or having the mind of a Rhodes Scholar like Mr. Clinton needed something to cover up his inadequacy and prevaricating nature, so he chose to use Christianity to mask his self-serving agenda. After all, if God chose him to lead our nation, who dare question the actions of our Lord's messenger? So anyone who is against the war in Iraq isn't a good Christian....brilliant!  (Bush & brilliant in the same paragraph? How oxymoronic!) If you don't agree with an issue, then you're called a Liberal! Putting labels on people when you don't like what they say sounds more like McCarthyism than Democracy to me. I am not a very political person, but I don't see George Bush as representative of the prophets in the Bible. He was born a child of privilege, an elitist who never served our country during wartime. In fact, his National Guard records clearly shows he failed to meet his commitments (too busy partying I guess) and suffered no consequence. Yet he wears his religion on his sleeve to hide the blood stain it covers as he sends others to die. In fact, if Jesus were teaching on this Earth today, He would be one of the "have-nots" George Bush jokes about to his aristocratic buddies.  I guess if being against the violation of human rights, torture, exploitation, hypocrisy and bigotry makes me a Liberal, then I welcome the title.

                        Peace, Nancy

                          Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                          Chief Bottle Washer
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                          Posted: April 11, 2006, 6:42 am - IP Logged

                          Sorry that God offends you, and sorry that you are one of those who are buying in to the liberal mentality that George Bush is "stupid".  Your hypocracy is interesting, as you criticisize my use of God, and then take an unfair swipe at George Bush by saying how he would call Jesus a "have-not".

                          I used to be taken in by the hype and "coolness" of liberalism in the mainstream media, just like you are.  The difference is that I figured out that it is all lies and personal attacks, and you have not.

                          Cheers

                           

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                          What grade did your lottery earn?

                           

                          Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                          Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                            konane's avatar - wallace
                            Atlanta, GA
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                            Posted: April 11, 2006, 9:30 am - IP Logged

                            Todd, you are the chief cook & bottle washer here, and I thank you for such a wonderful website. So I'm not going to get into a political debate. The one thing I wish people would stop doing is bringing up God when talking about George Bush.  We all have opinions and it is our right as Americans to voice them. However, please keep God out of political discussions. Everyone who knew Ronald Reagan says he was a very religious man who spent hours talking to God in the valley. I don't remember hearing him tell the American people that his Presidency was a calling from God. Bush, not being as eloquent as Mr. Reagan, or having the mind of a Rhodes Scholar like Mr. Clinton needed something to cover up his inadequacy and prevaricating nature, so he chose to use Christianity to mask his self-serving agenda. After all, if God chose him to lead our nation, who dare question the actions of our Lord's messenger? So anyone who is against the war in Iraq isn't a good Christian....brilliant!  (Bush & brilliant in the same paragraph? How oxymoronic!) If you don't agree with an issue, then you're called a Liberal! Putting labels on people when you don't like what they say sounds more like McCarthyism than Democracy to me. I am not a very political person, but I don't see George Bush as representative of the prophets in the Bible. He was born a child of privilege, an elitist who never served our country during wartime. In fact, his National Guard records clearly shows he failed to meet his commitments (too busy partying I guess) and suffered no consequence. Yet he wears his religion on his sleeve to hide the blood stain it covers as he sends others to die. In fact, if Jesus were teaching on this Earth today, He would be one of the "have-nots" George Bush jokes about to his aristocratic buddies.  I guess if being against the violation of human rights, torture, exploitation, hypocrisy and bigotry makes me a Liberal, then I welcome the title.

                            Peace, Nancy

                            Shifting gears a bit to metaphysics, if you've ever read Kryon channelings they explain why President Bush is in office ... he is the only person who would get into the Middle East and stir things around to bring about changes in tribal behaviors which would otherwise take a thousand years in the future to change. 

                            One channeling says that humanity was polled at a very high soul level as to what and who they wanted to bring those things about and selected President Bush .... then again not many people are in contact with their Higher Selves so not remembering is no surprise. 

                            Why the Middle East and why now?   Kryon calls it "scraping the foundation clean" that lasting peace on earth can come about through elimination of old energies so that new can be take their place.  Also that the generation who are to implement global peace can become old enough to hold office and begin working toward it.  They've been born and there are enough to bring it about. 

                            On that basis, President Bush being in office is the result of a democratic vote of "majority rule" ....... but it seems the ones objecting the most are holding onto an very old energy mindset.

                            BTW, I didn't bring up the subject on this thread which is not political by its title ..... but wanted to add that there are reasons to look beyond what's happening in the world other than short term purely political or religious.  Sometimes religion is the only way a person has to frame things so that they will be understood by the greatest number of people.  It's sure been working for terrorists.

                            Peace Blue Angel

                            I'd personally love to see a national totally tax free lottery to pay off the national debt.  Big Grin

                            Good luck to everyone!