Election Lottery

I cannot resist commenting on the idea expressed in the Courant today in the article A Proposal To Sweeten The Ballot Box ,with opposing positions by Dr. Mark Osterloh, ophthalmologist and political activist, and Susan Bysiewicz, Secretary of the State. <read>

Dr. Osterloh’s suggestion is to award a lottery prize of $1,000,000 to voters in an election. to be paid for from existing lottery funds. Secretary Bysiewicz opposes the idea. I am very much in agreement on this with Secretary Bysiewicz.

Yet, there is a lot that voting officials and the legislature can take home from the Lottery. If the lottery was run as secretly and with the lack of transparency of our current e-voting system then there would be public cries for reform; the lottery would become less popular; few would tolerate lottery officials auditing themselves; especially if suddenly politicians or lottery officials began to win frequently, contrary to the rules of probability and predictions of statistics.

Nationally and in Connecticut we are forced to tolerate a lack of transparency with voting. Since 2000 we have been subject to two national elections and several congressional, statewide, and local elections that defy statistics. In Connecticut elections are audited by the same officials that certify the equipment, write the procedures, and conduct the elections.

The way to generate public confidence in elections is to institute a sufficient audit. That is a prerequisite for increasing public participation. Voters and bettors have lots more to lose in our elections than they do in the lottery. We risk billions in taxes, yet, our proposal at CTVotersCount.org would cost the state less than a 1/3 of the cost of the proposed lottery prize.

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