Politics

State Lottery Will Dish Out $1 Million To Five Ohio Residents For Getting The COVID Vaccine

(Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

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Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday a vaccine lottery system that will distribute a whopping $1 million each to lucky winners.

Adults who have received at least their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine will be eligible to participate in the lottery drawing, which begins May 26. DeWine said that for five weeks, one winner will be chosen each Wednesday, receiving $1 million.

In order to win, individuals must be at least 18 or older, a resident of the state, and vaccinated, DeWine said, noting there will be more guidelines released in coming days. (RELATED: Town In Japan Used Nearly $230,000 In COVID-19 Relief Funds To Build Giant Squid Statue)

“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money.’ But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic – when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it – is a life lost to COVID-19.”

Ohio’s Secretary of State will pool the names together based on the state’s publicly available voter registration database, DeWine said. There will also be a separate webpage for people to manually input their information if it isn’t already on the database.

The Ohio Department of Health “will be the sponsoring agency for the drawing” and the Ohio Lottery will conduct the drawing, according to DeWine.

The money will be drawn from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Funds.

Ohio received $4.5 billion in March of 2020, according to Cleveland 2020. As part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package, Ohio is slated to get an additional $5.4 billion in aid, according to The Columbus Dispatch. An additional $6.6 billion will go straight to Ohio cities and all counties.

The money can be used to address problems from the pandemic but cannot be used to cut taxes, pay debt, or be placed in a fund. The plan also stipulates the funds cannot be used directly or indirectly to “offset revenue loss from tax revenues.”

The state’s Republican Attorney General Dave Yost sued the federal government in March over the stipulation, arguing the stipulation basically prevents states from implementing any tax deductions at all.

“The Tax Mandate thus gives the States a choice: they can have either the badly needed federal funds or their sovereign authority to set state tax policy,” the lawsuit said. “But they cannot have both. In our current economic crisis, that is no choice at all. In our current economic crisis, that is no choice at all. It is a metaphorical ‘gun to the head.'”