Saturday, August 09, 2008

Thesis: The Effect of Compulsory Voting Laws on Government Spending

Had I not opted out, today would be the second time I walked across Clemson's graduation stage. For your reading pleasure, here is the abstract of my thesis. The full paper is attached below.

by J. Harrison Brookie

The United States’ voter turnout is often cited as being disappointingly low. Compulsory voting laws are offered as a possible solution to increase voter turnout and overall political participation. Opponents of the law complain that voters affected will be more politically liberal and in turn seek to enlarge the size and scope of the government. In order to determine whether this is true, a test was run on the effect compulsory voting laws have on the government revenue of 109 nations. The data held that no significant relationship exists between the two variables observed. This paper will discuss compulsory laws and the controversy surrounding them and also offer possible explanations for why the predicted correlation was not found.

Here is the full paper.


  1. Congratulations, friend!I'm confused. Why would requiring people to vote make them vote left? I'm confused.

  2. H,
    Did you see the post of Don (or was it a letter) that talked about how one of the problems with voting is that it does not adequately equate with the degrees of support for a candidate. It is either yes or no. But that one thing that does have that sort of effect is volunteering to not vote. If you support Obama, but just a little, you may not choose to vote at all. It was an interesting observation (of course I think lots of weird observations are interesting).

  3. Justin,

    The theory is that there is a voting gap for certain demographics of the public. The young, poor, and uneducated disproportionately don't vote. Those types of people are more likely to be liberal. So if a country was to suddenly force everyone to vote, then it would most likely benefit more liberally inclined parties.

    Personal anecdote: Traci and I were outside a Wal-mart the other day and a guy asked us if we were registered to vote in NC. We weren't so we filled out all the paperwork. One of the questions is what party do you affiliate with? So I could vote in the Republican primaries I claimed that party. The guy said I was the first person all day (it was like 3pm) to claim Republican. The demographics of Wal-mart shoppers is poor and uneducated. Coincidence, I think not.

  4. Steve,

    Yeah I did see that. That's definitely one of the reasons I probably wouldn't support these compulsory laws and why not voting is probably not that bad.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.