Buying lotto and voting-A A +A
Thursday, November 1, 2012
DID long queues at Comelec offices, especially in Cebu City, the last few days before Wednesday’s deadline for voters listing suggest an abnormal upsurge in civic-mindedness?
They might just be a horde:
-- afflicted by the habit of postponing what-
-- interested in getting benefits from a local government that requires them to be registered voters;
-- bused in by political ward leaders who’d “hakot” them again on election day.
They would’ve a reason for braving the rains or the heat in lining up and waiting for hours.
Some economic benefit: seniors’ cash gift, subsidized medical treatment, or right to engage in small business. Or cash from politicians, now and election day: fierce rivalry demands every trick must be used.
How about fulfilling citizen’s duty by helping elect public officials? Not many brim with patriotism.
Promise of gain In the US, an analysis of congressional and state legislative elections since 1898 showed that the odds that one’s vote could alter the results were “very, very, very slim (that’s triple “very”).
In a 2005 “New York Times Magazine” article “Why Vote?,” Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner wrote that people vote in the same way they buy lottery tickets. They fantasize how they’d spend the lotto prize just as they fantasize their vote could make a candidate win or lose.
In this country, that wouldn’t deter would-be voters. The promise of economic gain would keep those lines long.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 02, 2012.