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Lottery Referendum May Help Democratic Voter Turnout

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The focus of the lottery debate has shifted away from making big bucks and toward the politics of the November election.

A lottery referendum has been pending before the N.C. full House for more than a month, but supporters of the lottery may get it on the November ballot.

According to Chris Fitzsimon of the Common Sense Foundation, if the referendum is placed on the ballot the Democratic turnout is expected to greater - that is why politics are becoming a big part of the lottery debate.

"To sum it up I think that pro-lottery voters will come to the polls to vote for a lot of things. There are a lot of anti-lottery voters who probably won't vote, unless a lottery is on the ballot and they will come and make sure to vote. Also they won't vote for Democrats," said Fitzsimon.

However, time is running short because the federal law requires the November ballots be mailed by October 1.

"In spite of the technology that is available we still have to be able to mail something to voters. So far we hadn't figured out a way to put a voting machine in an envelope," said State Board of Elections Deputy Director Johnnie McLean.

Even the lottery referendum's primary sponsor is starting to have doubts.

"The time is getting short and we realize that right now we don't have the votes. If we try to force the issue, it won't be on the November ballot either," said Pasquotank County Rep. Bill Owens.

House Speaker Jim Black still plans to call a vote on the lottery referendum before the end of the legislative session.