Mark Osterloh believes a chance to win $1,000,000 will get Arizona residents out to the polls. In 2004, voter turnout was about 77% of all registered voters in Arizona. In 2002, when Osterloh ran for governor, it was 56%. Osterloh thinks the shot at a million bucks will get more people out to vote. He might run up against federal or state laws. One federal statute prohibits
making or offering to make “an expenditure to any person, either to vote or withhold his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate; and whoever solicits, accepts, or receives any such expenditure in consideration of his vote or the withholding of his vote.”
There is a similar state law already in place as well. But Osterloh and the former state solicitor general who helped him write the initiative both say their idea is not in conflict with the intent of existing laws.
It’s a neat idea, sort of, but do we really want people coming out to vote just for a chance at money? It suggests to me that they won’t be well informed voters, and that could cause much more harm than good.