Paying people to vote proposed in Los Angeles

Buying votes is illegal, yet the misnamed Los Angeles Ethics Commission is proposing to pay people to vote, in the form of lottery prizes. David Zahniser of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Alarmed that fewer than one-fourth of voters are showing up for municipal elections, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission voted Thursday to recommend that the City Council look at using cash prizes to lure a greater number of people to the polls.

On a 3-0 vote, the panel said it wanted City Council President Herb Wesson's Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee to seriously consider the use of financial incentives and a random drawing during its elections, possibly as soon as next year.

Depending on the source of city funds, the idea could require a ballot measure. Commissioners said they were unsure how big the prizes should be or how many should be offered, saying a pilot program should first be used to test the concept.

This is a terrible idea whose time probably has come. The notion that indifferent people, who don’t care enough about civic affairs to inform themselves,  should be lured to the voting booth is stupid. Voting is a responsibility, and if someone doesn’t really care about issues, why should he or she be encouraged to vote? That vote will cancel the vote of someone who does care about politics and did the homework necessary to vote intelligently.

Of course, there is a method to this madness. The progressives have cultivated the process of emotional appeals to the poorly-informed, and depend on ignorance for their power.

High voter turnout is uncritically accepted as a good thing. It long past time for us to launch a counter-campaign, emphasizing that causal voting is stupid. “If you don’t care, don’t bother voting” should be the slogan to encourage responsible voting.