Voting For Dollars

Saturday, November 4th 2006, 9:12 pm
By: News On 6

Are there any issues pressing enough to get you out to vote on Tuesday?

What if you thought you had a shot at winning a-million bucks?

News on 6 anchor Tami Marler found one state is preparing to vote on a controversial proposition that could change American voting forever.

In Tulsa County during the last non-presidential midterm election 52-percent of eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots. That's lower than the 56-percent turnout that prompted an Arizona activist to draft a first of its kind proposition.

“So all I got to do is vote like I normally do and I get a million dollars?" said voter Marcus Staples.

Mark Osterloh's Voter Reward Act would use unclaimed state lottery winnings to pay a $1,000,000 to one lucky voter from each election. He says it would end voter apathy, "We want every Republican every Democrat every Libertarian Green Independent to vote. We don't care which party or no party, we want you to vote "everybody" that way your government will represent you."

But critics of the proposition are frightened by the prospect that the power of the polls would be handed over to the Powerball culture, which may be more concerned about their odds than the issues.

"You've had people literally die to achieve and defend the right to vote in this country. And if that's not enough incentive for people to show up and be heard in the political process, it doesn't really seem appropriate to try to bribe them," said proposition opponent Barney Brenner.

Others say if the Voter Reward Act were to pass, it might violate federal law. "The law says you can't offer financial incentives to get people to vote because it s too risky, too subject to manipulation," Jack Chin, Law Professor said.

During the last non-presidential midterm election only 40-percent of America's eligible voters showed up at the polls.

Osterloh says he expects his idea to spread to other states, but first it has to pass in Arizona.

Right now, polls show Proposition 200 is trailing.