Elections can be a powerful force for political change but also a source of volatility. Dealing with (and if the player is so inclined, manipulating) election results will be a major consideration when forming the government.
Election process[edit | edit source]
Elections happen every 4 years in countries which allow them. An election campaign begins 6 months prior to a country's election date.
Each political party is assigned a momentum value at the beginning of the campaign, which is a measure of the success of their campaign and is a major factor in determining how many votes they will garner on election day. During the campaign, momentum will fluctuate for each of the running political parties and impact the final result. Momentum can be affected by chance, events, and the popularity of interest group leaders. Since parties, leaders, and many other aspects of the political scene in the country are likely to have changed in the years between the elections, the momentum does not carry over and is reset on each election cycle.
When the election campaign ends, the votes are in and the results are set in place until the next election. Interest groups receive additional political strength from their party's votes, which will be a major factor determining the player's legitimacy and therefore the effectiveness of the government. The actual makeup of the government is up to the player -- just like the electoral systems of most modern countries, winning the popular vote does not automatically mean that a certain party or coalition of parties gets to form a government. The post-election strength of the interest groups and their party affiliations should be a major consideration, especially when forming a minority government.
Election enabling laws[edit | edit source]
A country can have elections if it has any of the Distribution of Power laws that enable voting:
- Landed voting - Aristocrats, capitalists, clergymen, and officers hold essentially all voting power, gaining a huge bonus to the political strength they contribute to their interest groups.
- Wealth voting - There is a wealth threshold that determines a pop's eligibility to vote. Pops that can vote have more political strength.
- Census suffrage - The wealth threshold is significantly lower than in wealth voting. Literate pops contribute much more political strength to their interest groups.
- Universal suffrage - There is no wealth threshold for voting. Pop type and literacy do not grant additional political strength. Though of course a pop's wealth will continue to contribute to their political strength, and literacy will make pops more politically engaged.
All of these laws are compatible with any of the Governance Principles laws. For instance, a country with the monarchy law could be an absolute monarchy with no voting system at all, or it could have universal suffrage. Likewise, a republic might very well be a presidential dictatorship.
Prohibited voting[edit | edit source]
There are three factors that, when applicable, will prevent pops from voting entirely:
- Discrimination - Discriminated pops cannot vote in elections.
- Living in an unincorporated state - Only pops living in incorporated states can participate in elections. For example, pops living in a growing colony cannot vote.
- Politically inactive pops - Regardless of whether they are "legally" eligible politically inactive pops do not vote. These pops are not part of any interest group, and tend to have low literacy and/or standard of living. For instance, peasants working in subsistence farms are almost always politically inactive.
Women's suffrage movement[edit | edit source]
Passing the women's suffrage law will greatly increase both your workforce ratio and your dependent enfranchisement. This means that a greater proportion of pops will be eligible to work in buildings, and a much greater proportion of dependents will now count towards the voting power of their pop.
Greater dependent enfranchisement inherently benefits larger pops more than smaller pops (especially under more egalitarian laws like universal suffrage where wealth counts for less), and it is inevitable that there are vastly more laborers, machinists, and farmers than there ever will be aristocrats or capitalists. As such, there will be very little support among interest groups to pass this law in 1836. Not only will the ruling interest groups strongly disapprove of women's suffrage but it will also be very harmful to their political power.
After researching feminism (or having the technology spread to the country), politicians will begin to appear with the feminist ideology, which causes them to strongly approve of women's suffrage and disapprove of less egalitarian laws. Once political agitation is researched, the suffrage movement will begin in full force. The "Votes for Women" journal entry will appear, and events will trigger from it that will give the opportunity to grow or suppress the political movement. One can complete the journal entry by passing the law and having the first election campaign with women eligible to vote; alternatively the movement can be ignored or suppressed until it loses its momentum and withers away.
Number of votes[edit | edit source]
The number of votes cast is not equal to the number of people voting. Each of the relevant distribution of power laws gives all eligible pops political power from votes, but that same number is also used for the total number of votes cast. For instance, under Universal Suffrage all pops receive 20 votes, so you need at least 95% of your pops to abstain from voting for the number of votes to stay below total eligible voting population. In practice, you may frequently find the total number of votes cast to exceed the total eligible voting population, or even the total population if the former group is large enough.
Clout impact[edit | edit source]
The distribution of clout and votes is not necessarily the same, although somewhat correlated. Even interest groups who did not join any party (and thus received no votes) may still hold significant clout. Under restrictive voting laws, clout from population size can counter the voting results, and under egalitarian laws, wealth can. So even if a party completely dominates an election, they may still find other parties, or even interest groups who didn't join any party and thus received 0 votes, continue to hold significant clout in politics, and need to be accounted for.