Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

Would a chance to win a jackpot increase voter turnout in Los Angeles?

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 21:  A man marks his ballot in an election that is expected to have very low voter turnout for the race between Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilman Eric Garcetti for Los Angeles mayor on May 21, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Greuel could become the first-ever woman mayor of Los Angeles in her bid to replace two-time mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew/Getty Images
As voter participation in Los Angeles dwindles, the Ethics Commission considers a lottery to get more Angelenos to the polls.

Would you vote in a Los Angeles city election if it meant you'd have a chance to win $1 million? 

What if the jackpot were just $1,ooo?

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission discussed a proposal on Thursday, to create a lottery that would encourage Angelenos to show up at the polls. Turnout in last year's mayoral race was a dismal 23 percent. (Still, it was better than the 8 percent turnout in Tuesday's special election for the LAUSD Board of Education.)

The commission floated the idea of offering a prize of $1,000 to 100 voters in a municipal election. It is illegal for states to hold lotteries in elections with a federal candidate on the ballot. However, Los Angeles municipal elections are held in March and May of odd-numbered years. Therefore they could, theoretically, have a lottery with prizes for lucky voters. 

Council President Herb Wesson, who attended the commission meeting, called the idea "exciting." Ultimately, it will be up to the Los Angeles City Council to pursue any form of lottery. 

If this lottery idea sounds familiar, it may be because Fernando Guerra of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles suggested it to KPCC in the wake of the June primary.