L.A. considers lottery prizes for voters who turn out on Election Day

It may sound like satire, but the Los Angeles Ethics Commission is perfectly serious about the idea of handing out random cash as an incentive for apathetic constituents to get to the polls. I take a dim view of that in a Cato post; more from columnist Debra Saunders.


  • And when a disproportionate percentage of the lottery winners are white males…?

  • As a US census worker from time to time, I supported such an approach to encourage participation in the census, especially to complete the bothersome long forms.

    But for voting, I share the skeptical view– we shouldn’t dilute the electorate more than necessarily with the frivolous and exclusively mercenary.

  • If someone doesn’t care enough about the system to vote, then I don’t want them voting. Turnout is meaningless if it’s a bunch of people who aren’t familiar with the issues and candidates.

  • The left has been in charge of education for a couple of generations now. Perhaps if they would teach better citizenship, we would not need to bribe people to vote.

  • It’s also a way to appeal to particular demographics: the poor and uneducated.

    Wealthier people and better-educated people have little interest in lottery tickets.

  • Growing up in what would now be called a “Blue State”, I thought that paying people to vote was a normal part of a GOTV (“Get Out The Vote”) effort.

  • I vote but feel I am gambling then too. Which candidate will do the most good and the least harm? At least with the lottery, you know the odds.

  • I don’t know how it works in California, but in my state, you can’t claim a lottery prize over $600 without photo ID.