Norm Ornstein, a classic “everyone should be a moderate, which, of course really means liberal” DC elitist, has figured out how to “fix” America:
In my view, the best way to ameliorate this malign dynamic is to find ways to enlarge the electorate in primaries and general elections — to move our politics to where persuadable voters in the middle have more impact. If I could do one thing to counter our dysfunction, it would be to adopt a version of the Australian system of mandatory attendance at the polls.
For more than 70 years in Australia, registered voters have been required to show up at the polls on Election Day. While they do not have to vote — they can cast ballots for "none of the above" — a failure to appear incurs a fine of roughly $15.
So if Ernie Ignorant does the right thing on Election Day and says “I don’t follow politics—I thought Mitt Romney played that Bane guy in the Batman movie—so I’m saying home,” we’re going to punish him for it? Send him a bill for $15? The “I didn’t vote” tax added to the “I didn’t buy an insurance police Obama likes” tax?
My favorite incentive approach is a "Mega Millions lottery," where one’s voting receipt is also one’s lottery ticket. The lure of a major prize could and would motivate people to vote, the same way the multimillion dollar Mega Millions prize in 2012 motivated many to stand in line for hours for a chance to buy a lottery ticket that gave a one-in-176-million chance to become a multimillionaire. A lottery could increase turnout dramatically and overnight, and is a model that could be employed at all levels (say, a chance to win a car donated by a local dealer for a local election).
I assume—probably a mistake on my part—that Ornstein knows it’s illegal in the US to offer someone something of value in exchange for his vote. He doesn’t care. He’s just sure that America can be saved by the stupid!
Is he right? Should be order every American to vote? Should we do more to get the “lottery ticket” crowd (people who, by definition, are too dumb to do math) to pick our president, governor, attorney general, etc?