Get out the vote : how encouraging voting changes political outcomes
Title: Get out the vote : how encouraging voting changes political outcomes
Author: VALASEK, Justin-Mattias
Citation: Economics and Politics, 2012, Vol. 24, No. 3, pp. 346-373
ISSN: 1468-0343; 0954-1985
How do measures to increase turnout affect election outcomes? I use a novel approach to analyze how these measures influence both voter turnout and the candidates' political positions. In general, lowering the net expense of voting reduces political polarization. If the net expense of voting is made very low, then candidates no longer have an incentive to take partisan positions to motivate turnout and will converge at the median voter's ideal point. For small changes in the net expense of voting, however, decreasing the cost of voting and penalties for not voting (two common measures) can result in drastically different political outcomes. Counter intuitively, measures that make voting cheaper might not increase turnout: since these measures decrease the difference between the candidates' political positions, they also decrease the benefit of voting.
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