“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6)
A few years ago, Mark Osterloh, a former Arizona gubernatorial candidate, came up with a novel idea. He proposed that $1 million dollars be rewarded in every general election to a lucky voter chosen by lottery. According to Osterloh, since the odds of winning the election lottery would be far greater than winning the popular Powerball jackpot (1-in-146 million), non-voting, lottery-playing Arizonians would be motivated to start showing up at the polls for a chance to win a million bucks. Gratefully, Osterloh’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Vote!” ballot initiative was soundly defeated by Arizona voters.
Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t believe that greater voter turnout is good for America. As far as I’m concerned, there are already too many uninformed people voting. I agree with Winston Churchill, who once said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” The last thing this country needs is more uninformed and uninterested voters determining its future by carelessly casting their ballots in hopes of winning an election lottery jackpot.
Did you know that to vote in colonial America one had to pass a poll test and have a “stake in society”; that is, own property or pay taxes? Voting was considered so important that only the informed and invested were considered qualified to cast ballots. Today, however, just about anybody can vote, regardless of whether or not they own property, pay taxes, or know anything about the issues. Thus, higher voter turnout in today’s America certainly doesn’t assure a better outcome; in fact, it may guarantee the opposite.
If Mr. Osterlah’s idea had passed, he predicted that it would have quickly spread to other states. Just think, before long Americans could have been casting their ballots in hopes of cashing in on election lottery jackpots, not in hopes of bettering our country or its prospects for the future. I don’t know about you, but I believe reducing our democracy to a scratch-and-win game would have proven to be just one more nail in our country’s coffin.
John F. Kennedy once said, “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” How impaired will our security be by your vote today?
Since our country’s hope is found in our prayer closets, not our polling places, pray that America will turn from its faith in the electorate back to faith in God.