10/21/2006

Want to be a millionaire ? Go Vote!

Just the other day (Oct 18, 2006 to be more precise), I was having a discussion on American politics with some of my American friends. And no such discussion can end without mentioning voter turnout in America. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance has released a ranking of 172 countries by their voter turnout percentages since 1945. Click here for the report.

Some (obvious) omissions are Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China and Iraq. Some interesting observation are for example, women still cannot vote in Bahrain and (USA's close friend) Kuwait and that Switzerland included women in the franchise as late as 1971. India (60.7%) ranks 105th and USA (48.3%) ranks 139th whereas Palestine (75.4%)is at 52nd and Iran (67.6%) at 80th positions respectively. Also, I dont understand why Australia is at 16th position even though it has a compulsory voting system. Click here for a list of nations which have some form of compulsory voting.

Anyway, coming back to USA, I suggested to my friend that it might be a good idea to give a tax break incentive to get Americans to go out and vote :) It turns out that there is something even better proposed by Arizonian political activist Mark Osterloh. Click here for the official version from Arizona State Legislature website. Named the Arizona Voter Reward Act, the description reads
Proposition 200 would establish a drawing every 2 years for prizes to be awarded to individuals who voted in the statewide primary or general election. Subject to the availability of funds, first prize is $1 million with the potential for more second prizes. The $1 million first prize would be adjusted for inflation. Prize winners would be randomly drawn from lists of voters who cast valid ballots in the primary or general elections.
Sounds really funny, doesnt it :) 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Go Vote!' For more, visit the campaign website at www.voterrewards.org

The Christian Science Monitor also has a very interesting article on this issue.