Having been in the Air Force for twenty-two years and crossed around America....I came to note at some point that some significant cities or urban areas have multiple elections....something that doesn't happen in Bama. In Bama, we have a full-up election every two years, and a presidential election once every four years. There are primary elections.....but that's generally it.
If you live in an area like DC, Philly, or Atlanta.....there are occasional municipal elections....just to vote on the city council, the DA, etc. From my experience of living around Arlington, VA.....I came to realize that few residents show up for a municipal election. Maybe out of a hundred registered voters....if you were lucky....maybe twenty-five folks would show.
Low municipal voting tends to lead to odd scenarios. A key city council or county commission job might have six people running, and with 100,000 registered voters....there's only twenty-five thousand votes to play with on six candidates.
This all leads to a scenario where "Freaky Karl" shows up as one of the six....wearing a weird purple suit....talking about space aliens, sparking discussion over lifestyles, and pushing weird agendas....then accidentally getting four thousand votes. Toss in ''Marvelous May" who allures men voters with some black leather outfit and six-inch heels....getting three thousand votes. Suddenly, a legit candidate is screwed because seven thousand votes are cast for nut-cases.
The Arlington city council always had to worry that their primary democrat candidate might accidentally lose the election to the Green Party candidate or the libertarian guy....simply because not enough people were going to vote.
Well....this week out in L A.....there's a curious story. It won't be on CNN or Fox, or get printed in USA Today.....but there's talk of offering a bonus or cash prize for folks who come out to a municipal election.
There's a panel deal created now, and they will examine the idea of offering a cash prize for municipal elections....to entice people to just show up. The amount? Not really in focus yet....but they are suggesting $25,000 to $50,000 as the necessary amount to make this gimmick work. Where would the money come from? Your property and local sales taxes.
Personally, I think it's a lousy idea that you want democracy and republic values to work....with one vote per person....and the only way to get effect evidence of such is to offer a bonus.
Would it change anything? I'm taking a guess that for folks who make over $50,000 a year and have a full work schedule.....it won't change anything. You got a guy on a pension or welfare.....it will absolutely entice them to show up to vote.
The better answer here? Open up voting two weeks prior at the county court house, and allow people to show up Monday through Sunday....from 0700 to 1900....maybe even open up the voting deal at 5AM on some days to get guys going to work.
As for the bonus deal? What they suggest is simply a drawing of the people who showed up to vote. You'd probably pull ten names. Five would get $500 each (my humble guess), four would get $1000 each, and one guy would walk away with $25,000. Taxable? Oh YEAH. It'd have to be taxable.
If you had suggested this gimmick to Thomas Jefferson....I suspect he would have started laughing, and tears flowing down his cheeks.....amused at the necessity of fixing democracy in this way. Just having the right to vote....sometimes is not enough for democracy to exist, and that should draw everyone to question where exactly we are going with this current line of thinking.