A $25,000 prize for voting in LAUSD election? It could happen

Photo by Andres Lombana via Flickr Creative Commons

One lucky voter in Los Angeles Unified School District's 5th school board district could receive a $25,000 cash prize just for voting in next month's runoff election, reports the L.A. Times.

Voters would be entered in a drawing for the payout, which is being offered by the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, a group that aims to boost participation by Latinos in politics.

The Times reports:

"This is an experiment, a nontraditional out-of-the-box strategy" because "participation has gotten so bad," said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the organization, which focuses on increasing voter turnout, especially within the Latino community.

The March primary for the school board drew marginal voter interest in a citywide election that also failed to attract much interest.

Three board races are going to a May runoff. Southwest Voter Registration is especially interested in District 5, because about 57% of registered voters there are Latino.

This isn't the first time financial incentives have bene proposed as a cure to dismal voter turnout in local elections. Back in June 2014, Loyola Marymount University professor (and KPCC board member) Fernando Guerra proposed a $1 million prize for voting in California. The Los Angeles Ethics Commission later discussed awarding 100 $1000 prizes to voters in local elections.

The upcoming election, scheduled for May 19, will pit Bennett Kayser, the incumbent and ally of the teacher's union, against Ref Rodriguez, a charter school advocate.

Two other LAUSD school board incumbents will face challengers in runoff elections next month.