A Lucky Voter Could Win A Cool Million
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
WASHINGTON — Who wants to be a millionaire? Anyone using the ballot box in Arizona, if campaigners have their way.
Under the scheme, which is designed to increase turnout, a $1 million prize will be handed to a voter selected at random after elections held every two years. Those taking part in party primary elections could win another $1 million prize.
The scheme will be judged by voters in November. It has already secured the support of almost 190,000 who signed their names to have it placed on the ballot.
The idea is the brainchild of Dr. Mark Osterloh, an ophthalmologist who has previously run unsuccessfully to become Arizona’s governor.
“Who do you know that doesn’t want to be a millionaire?” he asked.”What is the worst thing that could happen? Everybody who is eligible to vote could be voting.”
The odds are not bad. Given the number of Arizonan voters, the chance of winning would be about two million to one against. Typical odds in America’s state lotteries are around 146 million to one.
But the scheme has been attacked by those arguing that voting is a civic duty. They worry that voters would cast their ballots without examining the issues, or the candidates.
Arizona’s turnout at the last elections in 2004 was 77%.