Tennesseans go to the polls today to elect a governor and a senator, but the reason most of them will go to the polls is to vote for or against a lottery. Georgia, Kentucky and Virginia have one but we don’t. At least today we don’t. Polls indicate that most people are in favor of a lottery, but the “rules” on how it will pass strike me as strange. Here’s a quote from Knoxville News Sentinel:
To determine the votes needed to pass the lottery, all votes for all candidates for governor will be added. That number will then be divided in two. The number of “yes” votes for an amendment must exceed that number for the measure to pass.
As an example, if 100,000 votes were cast in the governor’s race, lottery proponents would need at least 50,001 “yes” votes to win. If, say, only 40,000 “yes” votes were garnered, and the “no” votes totaled 30,000, the measure would still fail – even though the “yes” votes exceeded the “no” votes.
“We don’t know how much drop-off there may be,” Cohen said, between those who vote in the governor’s race and those who cast votes on the lottery question.
Of course, voters are not being asked to approve a lottery. Instead, voters will be asked to vote either for or against a change in the wording of the state’s constitution, which currently forbids a lottery.