Idea: Allow policies to affect voter turnout

It would be really neat to be able to have policies that directly affect the turnout for certain voter groups; many policies that would do so have been hotly debated for many decades, especially recently. Altering turnout could be really interesting, greatly increasing or decreasing the importance of people that only moderately support/oppose you, among other things.

For modders, the benefit would be that values wouldn’t be modified as a strange side effect of policies that attempt to change turnout by proxy via population. For instance, in real life a decrease in the age to vote would never make schools more expensive due to higher pupil numbers.

A glance at votertypes.csv seems to imply that this is already modeled in some form, but without a way to influence it AFAIK.

Examples of policies that could influence turnout include:

  • Voting age: Increases/decreases youth turnout, of course.
  • Mail-in voting: Increase for everyone. Perhaps increases for others as well?
  • Voter ID laws: Decrease in turnout for the poor and ethnic minorities, who may have difficultly getting the proper paperwork.
  • GOTV campaign: Slight increase for everyone.
  • Compulsory voting: Strong increase for everyone.
  • Election day holiday: Slight increase for everyone, increase for the poor who wouldn’t have to lose hourly wages to vote.
  • Availability of voting locations: Decrease for the poor and rural, if they have to travel quite far to vote.
  • Online voting: Increase for the tech-savvy youth, small decrease for the poor with subpar internet access (I believe there was a policy somewhat like this in Clones and Drones).
  • Prisoner/felon voting: Increase for the poor, since much crime results from poverty.
  • Naturalization laws: Increase/decrease for ethnic minorities, depending on how difficult it is to become a voting-eligible citizen.

I think this is already on the trello board as something that ideally we will find time to do in early access, it would be awesome… FWIW prisoner voting is already in, but does not currently affect turnout.


tbh for most reasonable places, it may not actually matter much. It’s gonna be important for very close races only.
But for places such as the US, if all the disenfranchised people could vote, it’d potentially have utterly enormous effects.

As of 2016 we’re apparently talking about 6.1 million potential voters, over half of whom actually aren’t currently in prison but rather disenfranchised even after serving their sentence!

In Florida, more than 10% of the entire voting-age population is disenfranchised! Like, that’s just ridiculous. And most places see at least half a percent which is certainly enough to affect close races.

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Yes! This!! I imagine a number of these policies also having negatives, such as Compulsory Voting decreasing Liberals opinion of you; people have the right to refuse to vote! Speaking of, I think that shouldn’t be on the main screen; make it a policy!

I also think it’s reasonable to say that a number of these voting policies can increase Corruption, even if only slightly. Logically, the easier it is to vote, the easier it is to inject votes. Voter ID Laws seems to be the only one that would reduce it from this list imo.

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If we were really being obsessive… (and I am), it would be worth considering the impact that get-out-the-vote measures would have on the quality of the votes.
Think of it like this…
The most politically engaged, and perhaps the most politically informed people are currently the ones voting. They know who to vote for, and probably what most or at least some of their policies are.
But consider forcing someone who hates politics and never watches the news to vote regardless of their lack of interest. How do they vote?

I would suggest that less informed voters would be more susceptible to influence from campaigning (leaflets etc) and media impressions (voter perceptions). We could model this in the game.

It would effectively create a strategy where if you realize your policies are horribly unpopular, you could cynically win anyway by vastly increasing the number of people voting, and concentrating on voter perceptions and campaigning (keeping donors happy, hiring ministers for their campaign skills). You then win elections on a wave of ill-informed voters who chose you without even knowing what you stand for!

This would be fun to code :D.


Especially works if you’re doing the corruption and pay people for voting for you!

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