How Mega Millions Can Save Our Political System

Combine Election Day with a lottery: Norman Ornstein
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2012 4:49 PM CDT
How Mega Millions Can Save Our Political System
A woman fills out a Mega Millions lottery ticket form in Covina, Calif., last month.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Nearly half the adult population of the US took part in last month's Mega Millions lottery, giving Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute an idea on how to "transform" our political system: Enter voters in a lottery. If people have the chance to win big by voting, it's a safe bet that turnout would jump to a healthy 80% or so, he writes in the New York Times. Critics will scoff that it amounts to bribing people to perform their civic duty, but so what? Look at the benefits.

As it stands now, the two parties keep pandering to the bases and reducing political discourse to the lowest common denominator. If we can get the vast majority of people to the polls, not just the bases, politicians would have to court moderates more aggressively and skip the extremist rhetoric. The government could provide the jackpot money, or, who knows, maybe a car dealer could put up a shiny new vehicle on the local level. Either way, giving people an added incentive to vote "would enhance democracy, not trivialize it," writes Ornstein. Read his full column here. (Read more Mega Millions stories.)

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