Warning: Before you read this post, read Shirley Jackson's story "The Lottery."
So I had students write about Jackson's story, and one wrote a startling piece about how the lottery in the story is fixed. I was not sure I was utterly convinced, but then I suddenly was. Here's what I wrote to the student:
There's a fascinating point to be made here about the rules of fiction. After all, someone does pick out the victim: Jackson herself determines who the victim of the lottery is—or perhaps I should say of "The Lottery." The rules of fiction require her to have the victim of the lottery be a character she has already introduced to the reader. Further, in a context in which it is important that most of the figures be as nondescript (and hence "normal") as possible, the characters she does introduce to the readers are going to be the ones who "stand out" by stretching the rules of the game in various ways, as you have described.
In a sense, one level of the story's allegory is literary: this is a story about how stories work. They work by assuming a background of "normalcy" against which the outstanding qualities of the main characters can be established. By "outstanding" here, I do not mean "excellent" but something more neutral: the characters might be heroes, or villains, or even hypernormal people, but in one way or another, they have to stand out against that standardized background.
In most fiction, then, the author's job is to give the reader such "outstanding" characters to identify with. In "The Lottery," Tessie stands out in this way: not because of her excellence, but simply because her difference from the crowd makes her worth mentioning, whereas the crowd's standardized behavior, once established, recedes into the background. This makes the horror of "The Lottery," then, as powerful as it can possibly be: the reader identifies with the "outstanding" character, and the object of the reader's identification gets murdered. And all this is done in the most everyday way possible, which only increases the horror.
But all this also proves your point: Tessie Hutchinson's slight difference from the crowd around her selects her to be the victim. But it is not the lottery that selects her as the victim, it is "The Lottery" and its genre that do so. How? The same way that the characters in the story do so: by following the rules of the game.