"A million dollars for voting is a risky reform"

Speaking of opinion pieces, I authored one that came out this morning, focusing on the “Arizona Voter Rewards Act”, which is on the ballot in Arizona this fall. The complete piece is here.

Here’s my conclusion about this proposal — the benefits are unclear, but the risks are real:

Combining some positive incentives to get people to the polls, with other reforms to make the process more competitive and interesting might induce qualified people to run for office, might lead to more exciting and more energized election campaigns and may give political parties and politicians more incentive to get people to the polls on election day.

But it is not necessarily the case that these wholesale changes in Arizona politics will be achieved by the voter lottery. And therein lies the risk of this measure – that it could become law and not achieve the laudable ends sought by the measure’s proponents.

The Arizona voter lottery is an intriguing idea, but is also a risky reform attempt. There are so many open questions about it that the academic in me says we should study this idea further and not attempt this risky reform.