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March 07, 2008


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» Voter Turnout from Political Animal
VOTER TURNOUT....Via Brendan Nyhan, here's a fascinating little piece of political science research that even hardened pols might want to pay attention to. A trio of academics decided to test different ways of boosting voter turnout and discovered one ... [Read More]


Beyond the scope of the article is the question whether increased voter turnout is a positive good (though the tone of the article suggests that the authors feel it is). I'd respectfully suggest that voters who need social pressure to get themselves to the polls are far more likely than more motivated voters to have little or no knowledge of the issues and little or no interest in the outcome of the election. Their votes are far more likely to be based on arbitrary criteria like ethnicity or appearance of the candidates and misinformation about the candidates and their positions. Is this the cohort we want deciding close elections?

I like this idea on two fronts: (1) incentivizing participation in the electoral process, and (2) a means of identifying voter fraud.

Of course we'd need some serious electoral reforms: for one, no more voting during the work week, move that to the weekends, or better yet allow voting all week. Allow same day registration, no reason absentee voting, etc.

When I was in Australia they had compulsory voting.

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