Get tricked into voting by the world’s dumbest ballot questions! The incredible secret that may save democracy.

The issue:

Voters frequently are uninterested in the details of government: frequently, elections have low turnout even when critical issues are at stake.


Paradoxically, people can be more excited less important issues that are easier to understand (this is also referred to as “bikeshedding”).

Thus, this proposal aims to “trick” voters into being interested in an election by having a totally meaningless (yet superficially appealing) “ultra-easy” question on every ballot.

This sort of question would need to be incredibly easy to understand (Fig. 1) and require no civics knowledge.

Fig. 1: Here, the ultra-easy question is “which additional flag should the city zoo fly?” Text of the ballot proposition: “Proposition Z1 amends the constitution to require the zoo add a flag for Wally the Walrus (left). This is mutually exclusive with ballot measure Z2, which mandates the flying of the Eddie the Eel gold-fringe admiralty flag (right).”

These ballot proposals should ideally also make people extremely angry so they’ll fight each other online about it, thus increasing voter engagement. One might think of the “what color is the dress” question from 2015.

The non-cynical goal of this voting plan is to get voters interested in these easy-to-understand ballot measures as a “gateway” to investigating the more important issues.

Fig. 2: The voting measure could even be more abstract. For example: “Proposition B: The color BLUE is affirmed as being superior to the color PURPLE.” This has the advantage of requiring no action (or cost) on the part of the government.

PROS: May increase civic engagement!

CONS: Or it could just bring totally apathetic voters in to vote un-informedly on the actually-important issues on the ballot! Also, if you have to trick citizens into voting, maybe something more fundamental is wrong?

P.S.: See the previous idea of disqualifying ballots that contain a “wrong” answer: