WATTS (CBSLA.com) — The president of the Los Angeles City Council wants to explore the idea of offering a large cash prize to lure voters to the voting booths.
The city’s ethics commission recently recommended offering a large cash lottery prize as a way to boost voter turnout. City officials believe the idea could address a serious problem.
“This is a fascinating conversation, really,” LA City Council President Herb Wesson said.
Only a relative handful of voters are casting ballots in LA City elections these days. Wesson says he wants to seriously consider it and is planning to schedule hearings on the idea.
“Voter turnout is an embarrassment. What can we do to address that? There will be so much from soup to nuts that relates to this,” Wesson said.
LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino agrees that the idea is worth looking at.
“We need to encourage people to come out and vote, and if that’s incentivizing, then let’s look at it,” Buscaino said.
Voters seem to be on board with the idea, but Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti doesn’t seem to be as enthusiastic.
“We’re analyzing the proposal, but Mayor Garcetti feels the best way to get people engaged with government is to make sure government is solving problems and delivering quality services,” Garcetti’s spokeswoman Vicki Curry said in a statement.
Former Councilman Dennis Zine says the idea is crazy and that it will never work, but Wesson said that if the idea is approved, a pilot program could be up and running within a few years.