You may remember the Starbucks voting freebies that were dished out in the 2012 elections. In that year, handing out voting incentives to uninformed Americans was a desperate effort. It worked in some areas — at least, in terms of getting voter participation from uninformed individuals.
Los Angeles is getting really innovative now. To increase voter turnout, the LA government might begin offering a new voting incentive: cold hard cash.
At least, it’s being suggested by city officials who are trying to boost what they’re calling a “truly depressing” voter turnout in local elections. So the LA City Council is exploring an opportunity to draw cash prizes for people who cast a ballot.
Increase voter turnout — with cash
It’s like giving out big screen televisions for achieving a C+ in Algebra. They’re trying to figure out the reasons people don’t vote. But there’s not much to figure out. They either don’t care or they’re too lazy. What does giving out free stuff for voting get you? I suppose it gives unpopular candidates a better chance of winning, considering many of the votes will be randomly generated. Maybe that’s how that dog got elected Mayor. I can’t remember the city. Anyway…
“I think that this idea addresses a crisis for which I don’t have any other short-term solutions,” says Ethics Commission President Nathan Hochman.
Other than, if you’re too lazy to vote, tough cookies.
Fortunately, there are some people with a voice of reason. “It’s an affront to democracy,” California attorney Troy Slaten told Fox News, arguing that the plan would attract people who may know nothing about the candidates, seeking only cash voting incentives.
Details on Los Angeles’ past voting results:
According to the Los Angeles Times, only 23.3 percent of the city’s 1.8 million registered voters cast ballots in the Los Angeles mayoral election in 2013, the lowest turnout in more than 100 years. That election was also the city’s costliest since 2001, with more than $55 million spent by the candidates alone.
Sure, it’s pathetic. But the ethics commissioners are thinking a little too outside the box to increase voter turnout. Bribing voters with cash incentives is just too pathetic. It’s one odd form of democracy.
The way I see it? I’d prefer a few informed voters that have an inkling of what they’re voting for than a horde of uninformed voters who are trying to cash in on a few extra bucks.
Related: Voter fraud convictions