Jun
30
2006

$1M… for voting?

Yesterday I wrote about a church paying people to visit their services. Today I'm writing about a state that wants to pay people to vote. Or, at least, some people in the state want that.

In yesterday's post I was a little ambivelant. It didn't seem quite right, and I'm not sure how prudent it is, or if it's a good use of the Lord's money, but I couldn't point to something that made it absolutely wrong. Today, though, I'm a little more persuaded that this is a really crummy idea.

Ok, so what am I talking about? It seems that an Arizona doctor and political activist has decided that not enough people are voting. (I agree, so far, but not with his proposed solution!) So, he's worked up enough signatures for a ballot initiative for this fall, which, if passed, would enter every voter in a lottery for $1,000,000. NPR has an interview with the doc on their website.

This really disgusts me! What ever happened to civic duty? What happened to "Ask not what your country can do for you; Ask what you can do for your country!"?

So, what effect will this have on the electorate? Well, you're going to have a lot of uninformed and stupid (those two are not synonymous, btw – think about it) people coming to the polls not because they believe in duty and responsibility, not because they cherish the republic in which we live, not because they value democracy, but because they want a million dollars!

From listening to the interview, it's clear that he's liberal, and, imo, essentially socialist. He cites Australia, which fines citizens $20 (unclear whether that was in US or Aussie dollars) if they fail to vote. He then went on to identify a string of causal links. Two problems with that:

  1. Correlation does not necessarily indicate causality.
  2. The "benefits" he cites are not necessarily benefits!

So, what are the "benefits" which he claims are due to the 95% voter turnout there?

Well, the good doctor says that minimum wage there is over $9/hour! Hmm. I won't take the time to explain why that's a bad idea right now, but maybe I will come back and update this post a little later. He also exults that they have universal healthcare there, another dubious "benefit." Again, more on that later.

At any rate, paying people to vote (or, in this case, offering a chance of being paid $1M to vote), is antithetical to the founder's vision of a democratic republic, in which God-fearing, responsible, mature individuals would elect representitives for the good of the union. Maybe I'll write more on this later, too.

Oh yes, one last thing, even more disgusting. He's made this ballot initiative retroactive! That is, if it passes, one person who votes in this election will get $1M. That's stacking the odds in your favor, isn't it? It'd be one thing to let responsible men and women who already vote (with no thought of winning the $1M lottery) decide the prudence of instituting such a lottery, but that's not what's going to happen. The prospect of $1M will draw all kinds of people who little care about duty and who are there to vote in the lottery initiative and thus gain a free chance at winning.

I sure hope it doesn't pass, but I suspect it will.

Written by in: Current Events |
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