Here’s a bad idea to start your Monday off, care of the city of Los Angeles: the Wall Street Journal reports that the the LA ethics commission voted to recommend a proposal that would have the city offering a cash prize of up to $50,000 to one lucky voter in a bid to boost dismal turnout in local elections:
A mere 23% of registered voters showed up for the 2012 mayoral election, down from the 37% that turned out in 2001. Even fewer voted in the city-attorney and -controller elections, and turnout was a low as 15% for district elections, city officials said.“I would say our turnout is abysmal, and it’s embarrassing,” Mr. Wesson said.The idea to boost voter participation involves a “lottery-type structure where there could be prize winners of some sort,” said Mr. Wesson. The lottery would only be allowable in elections that don’t include candidates for federal offices or federal measures.
It’s puzzling that such measures are even being considered. Surely decades of progressive politics has created so much excitement and engagement in the political process that Angelenos are flocking to the polls of their own accord.But when you think about it a little more, this really is the apotheosis of blue politics: “Vote for me on the chance I’ll give you free stuff.”