Dollars for Democracy!

A new approach to getting people to vote: Turn the registration process into a sweepstakes. It’s called Vote or Not, and it was launched over the weekend by the two guys who made a bundle from the Hot or Not vanity/dating site a few years back. Register to vote, or prove you’re already registered, and you become eligible for a $100,000 cash prize. Just wrote a piece about it for Wired News (online tomorrow, I think here). They have some interesting things to say about why they did it, and they convinced me they have a kind of nontraditional view of the political system.

Update: A big wrinkle in the plan: The rules of the contest were altered so that voter registration is not required. In other words, any U.S. citizen 18 or over can enter. The reason: a section of the federal Voting Rights Act that, among other things, makes it illegal to offer or accept payment for registering to vote. Neither of the Vote or Not guys, James and Jim, are especially anxious to create new case law on this provision.

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