What are the odds of that?

Published 6:34 pm Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Mega Millions and Powerball — wow! Now some lucky winner in South Carolina will be taking home, after taxes, nearly a billion Mega Millions dollars.

Everyone knows the odds of winning a jackpot that high are astronomical. A lottery player has a better chance of being struck by lightning and attacked by a shark simultaneously, according to statisticians. However, that doesn’t stop people from heading to their nearest lottery ticket sellers and even standing in line to purchase a ticket. The idea of having a shot at being wealthy beyond imagination inspires people to jump through hoops to purchase that, likely non-winning, ticket.

Since the lotteries are in the news, as usual, lottery memes are prolific on social media. As always, most are amusing, but there’s one that’s not amusing at all. This one reads, “If you can stand in line to buy a lottery ticket to try to win $1 billion, I’m 100% sure you can stand in line to vote.”

Now, that’s the truth. Even the results of the Daily News online poll has 7-9 percent of pollsters saying they won’t vote at all this election, which is a shame. And the real shame is the reason why is that these nonvoters believe there’s no payoff — unlike the imagined payoff from a lottery ticket. Most voters who sit out elections, who refuse to participate in democracy, just don’t think their vote matters. For them, there’s no connection between the ballot in hand and how decisions made by elected officials trickle down to affect their everyday lives.

But there is a connection, and that connection should mean everyone who is able to vote, should do everything in their power to make it to the polling places during one-stop voting or on Election Day, Nov. 6—just like they would to buy that last minute lottery ticket.

No, no one is going to get rich from an “I Voted” sticker. But when everyone participates in democracy, when everyone who can vote votes, then we all win. What are the odds of that?