When I saw the miserable turnout of voters in primary elections, I was dismayed. Less than 30 percent of registered voters in Juneau voted. We live in new and different world in which people at times expect that they will be rewarded for the very thing they are supposed to do as responsible adults.
We may not be able to change the way things happen now, the way people view things, but we can do our best to improve voter participation. How about a voters' lottery?
How's this for an off-the-wall, wild suggestion? At the next election, after people have cast their vote, and have been recorded as doing that, they could, if they wanted, enter a lottery. They would be given a ticket showing they voted, with no indication of how they voted, or for whom they voted, but simply that they voted.
After the elections were over, a ticket number from those who decided to go to the polls and cast their vote, and registered to participate in the lottery, would win a prize.
We could make it a community-supported program so various groups or organizations could contribute, not to sway an election one way or the other, but simply persuade people to vote.
As I drive down the road on election day, past the polling places with more important things on my mind than voting, I might realize if I just fulfilled my responsibility to vote, I could win $100 or $1,000! Or even an Alaskan Airlines ticket to Hawaii or something. It might be just the thing to convince me to do what I as a voter should do.
Crazy? Off the wall? What a surprise it might be to see that voter turnout in Juneau wasn't 30 percent or so, but 80 percent to 90 percent!
OK. I'm ready to donate $100 to a voters' lottery.