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Monday, November 6 12:00 AM ET

Electronic Voting Machines to Print Out Coupons, Lottery Tickets

By Brian Briggs

To encourage more voter participation, new electronic voting machines will print out a targeted-coupon in some districts or a lottery ticket for voters in others.

Like coupon printers found in many grocery stores which print out coupons depending on what you bought, the voting machines will print out coupons depending on who you voted for.

"Say you voted for a straight Republican ticket, the machine might print off a coupon for 10% off your next tax bill, or say you voted for a Green Party candidate, it might print off a coupon for rolling papers," said Diebold Information Director, Kevin Belkin.

Other coupon possibilities include 2-for-1 votes in the next election, free trips to Iraq, or a coupon for "Buy One Senator Get One Free."

In other areas, like Phoenix, Arizona voters will get a free random-pick Powerball ticket with each vote.

"Just because your candidate has lost doesn't mean you have to," said Belkin.

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The measures have been taken to increase voter turnout. Election watchers hope that these promotions could push voter turnout over the 20% level.

"A turnout of 25% would be a miracle in a midterm election," said elections expert Florence Wigley. "An election for the people, of the people, by almost a quarter of the people."

Critics say the coupons and lottery tickets don't pass constitutional muster. Diebold responds that being unconstitutional "hasn't been a barrier in the past and shouldn't be in the future."

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