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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 3, 2006 / 9 Menachem-Av 5766

A million bad reasons to vote

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Arizona voters will face an embarrassment of electoral riches this fall, when as many as 19 proposed laws appear on the state ballot for their approval. Among the measures to be voted on are a 50 percent increase in state legislators' salaries, a constitutional amendment allowing bail to be denied to illegal aliens , and the designation of English as the state's official language.


But one Arizona initiative has attracted more national attention than all the others combined: the Arizona Voter Reward Act, which would pay $1 million after each general election to a single voter selected at random. In essence, Arizona elections would become giant lotteries — everyone who voted would automatically be entered in a drawing to win the jackpot.


The proposal is the brainchild of Dr. Mark Osterloh, a Tucson ophthalmologist and political activist, who thinks it would heighten interest in elections and boost voter turnout. Considering the throngs of people who line up to buy lottery tickets, I'd say that's a pretty good bet. I'd also say the whole idea is pretty boneheaded.


Granted, that's what I usually say about proposals for getting more people to vote. I've never understood the whole turnout fetish — the notion that the best measure of democratic health is the number of people who vote, and that anything that might lead to higher voter participation should be promptly and enthusiastically embraced.


Such schemes have usually been premised on making voting (or voter registration) as easy and convenient as possible. But voting is already easy and convenient. Going to the polls once a year is considerably less onerous than buying groceries every week or taking the kids to school every day. Adults who care about government and public policy make it their business to vote. Those who don't care shouldn't vote. We are all better off when people with no interest in civic issues ignore elections and leave policy matters to those who take the responsibilities of citizenship more seriously.


But for years now, that has been a losing argument. In their determination to make the election process so effortless that even the most apathetic chucklehead might be willing to cast a vote, the turnout fetishists have pushed through one supposed panacea after another.


They lowered the voting age to 18. They passed the motor-voter law, so anyone getting a driver's license or applying for welfare could simultaneously register to vote. In many states, they enacted no-excuse absentee voting, which allows any resident to request an absentee ballot for any reason. They eliminated the need to show proof of residence, or to show up in person to register or vote. In at least 30 states, they instituted early voting, opening the polls weeks before Election Day. They have dabbled with voting over the Internet. In some places they have even abolished voting booths — as in Oregon, where all elections are now conducted by mail.


All of this has been done with the hearty approval of the turnout-worshipers, even though little or none of it has actually increased turnout. Yet, oddly enough, their reaction to Osterloh's "one person, one vote, one million bucks" proposal has been to trash it.


Editorial pages all over have been shocked — shocked! — that anyone could suggest bribing voters as a way to boost turnout. USA Today calls it "a tawdry idea" that "cheapens one of the most important things a citizen of a democracy can do." The Arizona Republic sees it as "compromising the idealism and responsibility of the vote" in order "to lure a few opportunists." The Oregonian, which in its own state vigorously supported doing away with voting booths in favor of mail-in elections on the grounds that it would "mean greater voter participation," blasts the Arizona proposal as a "spectacularly crass idea" and snorts: "When did American democracy become this cheap?"


When? When pundits and politicians reduced it to nothing more than a numbers game, that's when. When the public rituals of Election Day came to be seen as restrictive nuisances that busy men and women shouldn't have to bother with. When opinion leaders and civic institutions decided to dumb down elections to the level of the least-informed people in the belief that that would induce more of them to vote.


But the key to higher voter turnout is not to make voting so mindless and undemanding that a trained chimpanzee could do it. It is to dispel voter apathy by making elections meaningful. Yes, Osterloh's bribery scheme makes an awful mockery of the right to vote. But if, as I expect, it is sweepingly approved, it will also prove something essential about that right: The surest way to get people to exercise it is to give them a good reason — or a million good reasons — to do so.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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