The question comes up in every election cycle: how to increase voter turnout?
How do we get more voters to participate in this most basic of civic rights and duties? What can be done to spark their interest in the candidates and issues and get them engaged enough in the process to show up on election day and cast ballots at the polls?
All manner of shaming and cajoling seem to have little or no effect, but there must be something that would excite the apathetic nonparticipant to vote.
St. Louis attorney Stephen Tillery may have found the answer.
No one is more engaged in the current midterm contest than Tillery and associates. They're even intensely interested in a judicial retention election, believe it or not.
So keen is their interest that they're spending substantial amounts of their own money to make their voices heard and influence the result.
What explains their enthusiastic electioneering? Could their motivation, whatever it is, be used to inspire other citizens to get involved, too?
It most certainly could, but that raises the ticklish question of whether or not we really want more voters like Tillery.
The reason he and his associates are so interested in this election is that they have a multibillion-dollar stake in the outcome. That's why they're so determined to ensure that Lloyd Karmeier does not serve a second 10-year term as State Supreme Court Justice.
Way back in 2005, Karmeier participated in decisions overturning class action judgments of roughly $1 billion and $10 billion – in Avery v. State Farm and Price v. Philip Morris, respectively. Ten years later, Tillery & company are still trying to get the earlier judgments reinstated.
They've contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to a campaign fund established for the express purpose of blocking Karmeier’s bid for retention.
With a billion-dollar jackpot, we could increase voter turnout to 100 percent, maybe more in some districts.