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Los Angeles considers cold hard cash to reverse tepid turnout in local elections

Los Angeles is considering turning voting ballots into lottery tickets.

With fewer than a fourth of voters showing up for recent local elections, the city's Ethics Commission voted unanimously Thursday to recommend that the City Council consider a cash-prize drawing as an incentive to vote.

Commission President Nathan Hochman suggests the prizes could be $25,000 or $50,000, saying a pilot program should be used first to find out the number and size of prizes that would bump up turnout.

The Los Angeles Times reports (http://lat.ms/1uV1Ekw) that federal law prohibits payment for voting, but Ethics Commissioner Jessica Levinson says that statute wouldn't apply to elections without federal races.

California law only prohibits money or gifts for votes for a particular candidate or measure, or to stay away from the polls.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

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