One Philly Voter Could Win $10K Tomorrow

Money-bagPessimists always say voting doesn’t make a difference.

Well, for one Philadelphia resident voting could make a $10,000 difference.

The Philadelphia Citizen, along with Sam Katz and former Mayor John Street, started this promotion as a way to increase voter turnout. It has captured national attention and somehow is legal (although it feels more appropriate to say it is not illegal).

Any voter in Philly is eligible to win regardless of party or candidate choice. To determine a winner, the Philadelphia Citizen will chose a polling place and time at random (computers will be involved). The first person to exit that polling place wins.

So if sometime tomorrow you see an excited person outside your polling place as well as a half dozen others cursing themselves for being a little early or a little late, you’ll at least know why.

10 Responses

  1. Why not give everyone who votes a PA lottery ticket? It could be worth way more than $10,000 and would be truly random. Unless 666 won again.

  2. Sounds like a great GOTV strategy. If the R’s controlled Philadelphia they’d be all for it, too. Sounds like sour grapes to me.

  3. Whistleblower-

    I kind of doubt that. Larry Platt and Philadelphia Citizen are behind it. I’m not aware of any Local 98 connection. Are you?

    I would imagine they want to get some more press (after the initial story), so I would hope they let a reporter tag along when they make the random place/time drawing and catch the random voter exiting.

  4. Hmmm its vulgar unethical and borderline illegal?!?! Then follow the money it’s Johnny Doc behind it. It’s the only way his brother can win he needs 26% voter turnout. I mean it’s not rocket science. And watch it be some local 98 hack that wins the money. Disgusting

  5. PoliticallyActive-

    If it’s an non-partisan group promoting voting, without involvement of candidates, issues, etc., I think it’s not in conflict with any ethical problems that the other forms of voter compensation have.

    What if there was a effort to have “free” parking, in that some non-partisan group would put a quarter in your parking meter while you voted or “reserved” a block of parking spaces for voters by buying out the parking meters?

    I think the critical issue is whether it has an influence on the voter’s choice, rather than attendance.

  6. It’s cheap and tacky, but I applaud any attempt to increase turnout in these off year elections. I’m just surprised they could not raise more than a $10K prize. I don’t think anyone would take this to court unless they wanted to suppress the vote. My guess is that any free press would only serve to help. It is illegal to give out free things for voting federally, but no one has ever prosecuted. I remember this slate article talking about the subject.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2008/11/is_free_coffee_against_the_law.html

    It is depressing to have to look into such things, but if it helps, it’s a conversation worth having. There would certainly have to be rules against paying someone directly for voting, but lotteries and a free cup of coffee don’t seem like they would corrupt the system much more? Money is speech, right? (I’m totally trolling and will not even pretend to understand the law here)

  7. Billy-

    It’s being done AFTER they vote/exit so no influence as to how they vote or buying votes. Random precinct and time. Could go to a Republican, Dem or other.

    No purchase required.

    My only issue is that Absentee voters are not eligible. I would have gone with a random drawing from the voter file a month after the election, based upon “voted Nov 2015” flag.

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