For the past two seasons, I have watched American Idol. It's my guilty pleasure (and one I'm much more willing to admit to than my affinity for America's Next Top Model). Last night, the finale aired and this year's winner was announced. At the beginning of the show, Ryan Secrest, the show's host, announces that something like 60 million votes were cast (I can't remember the actual number) and that it was more votes than have ever been cast in any presidential election. Disgusting, huh?
Similarly, I was listening to NPR the other day and heard about a man from Arizona who is circulating a petition to merge the lottery with elections. How? Apparently, one million dollars would be taken from the state's unclaimed prizes fund every two years and awarded at random to somebody who comes to vote on election. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about people who don't know or care anything about politics coming to vote just so they can win a prize... scary!
This guy also mentioned that voting is a requirement in Australia and that they have a 95% participation rate in their elections. How do they manage? Anybody who doesn't vote is fined $20.