Arizona Pioneers a Really, Really Bad Idea

A group in Arizona has pioneered what may turn out to be the greatest tool for promoting socialist redistributionist government in this country since income tax withholding:  Having the government pay people to vote.

There's going to be a new reason for Arizonans to go to the polls this year:
They could win $1 million.

The Secretary of State's Office certified Thursday that backers of the
voter lottery plan had submitted more than enough signatures to qualify for the
November ballot.

But the measure is worded in a way to actually encourage people to vote
both in the primary this September as well as two months later when the actual
initiative will be on the ballot. If it is approved in November, it will be
retroactive: One lucky person who voted in this year's primary and another who
cast a ballot in the general election each will get $1 million.

A number of people have made the obvious point:  just how informed is the incremental voter who votes only because of this lottery ticket incentive really going to be?  I think most people's answer is "not".  The backers of the referendum poo-poo this concern, but do any of you really share this man's confidence:

Osterloh said he believes that providing a carrot for would-be voters would
increase participation in the democratic process. The Tucson physician dismissed
concerns that the kind of people who would vote solely for a chance to win the
lottery are likely to be ill-informed about the candidates and the issues.

"Once they decide they're going to vote, they will study the issues and
candidates," he said. "And they will vote in their own enlightened
self-interest."
Yeah, right. 

However, I am even more concerned because the incremental voter will be someone whose interest in the government is only as a source of money.  The new process will attract people who believe, and in fact train people to believe, that the purpose of voting is to direct money from the government to oneself.  I am convinced that the incremental voter attracted by this approach will tend to be strongly redistributionist, and further I believe that the backers of the plan know it. 

Update:  I am waiting to see how long it will be before we see this ballot initiative on some state ballot:  "Resolved:  That each year, the richest 40% of taxpayers in the state, as defined by last year's income, shall pay 10% of their income, above and beyond all other taxes, into a state fund that will be divided evenly and given to the remaining 60% of state residents."
  • Craig L

    Also, it is well-known that poor people are more likely to play the lottery. These same people are likely to vote Democratic more often, so it will be interesting to see who supports this initiative.

  • Maurice Sonnenwirth

    You don't mean that the marginal voters will turn out to be the same folks spending a goodly percentage of their welfare checks on lottery tickets, do you? I'm aghast at that kind of thinking!

    Of course, you are absolutely correct. The only logical objection I would have to what you write is that most of the voters already don't know enough about basic economics, history, philosophy, how government really works (or doesn't) anyway. Then again, the same could be said of a lot of our elected politicians too...

  • Todd K. Moyer

    Hey, that's pretty disturbing, but what about this idea: every dollar you pay in income taxes gets you 1 chance in a multi-million dollar lottery. Think of the dilemma for all the lottery-ticket-purchasers who are also tax evaders!

  • Bill Beeman

    This has the same flaw as tax funded 'Get Out the Vote" campaigns. I really believe that if one has to be dragged to the polls (or induced by such a silly bribe) you are almost sure to be an uninformed voter.

    Craig is correct in the link between income, lottery participation, and voting Democrat, so it is obvious who will be the beneficiary of this idiot scheme.