• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why does voter turn out differ across different countries and time periods?

Extracts from this document...


Why does voter turn out differ across different countries and time periods? Voter turnout is one measure of citizen participation in politics. It is usually expressed as the percentage of voters who cast a vote (i.e., "turnout") at an election. This total number of voters includes those who cast blank or invalid votes, as they still participate. Voting is the most wide spread form of political behaviour, thus is a very significant feature of politics. However, voter turnout has decreased globally over the past 10 years by almost 10 percent, both in established democracies as well as newly-democratized developing countries. The only region in the world with an increase in voter turnout during the past 10 years is Central and Eastern Europe where democracy has returned since 1989 Within Western Europe Liechtenstein has the highest turnout average, while Switzerland has the lowest. In North America Bahamas has the highest rate, the lowest is Haiti. In South America the highest is Guyana, while the lowest is Colombia. In Asia highest is Singapore, lowest is Pakistan. This essay will attempt to investigate why different countries have different turnouts, within different time periods, and what can be done in order to improve the % of turnout at elections. ...read more.


The type of election can also be significantly influential, Participation at parliamentary elections is only marginally higher than at presidential elections, although it should be noted that the database contains more than three times as many parliamentary elections as presidential elections. The 1,175 parliamentary elections saw an average turnout of 75 percent. However some countries have decided to enforce forms of legislation in order to force people to vote. This essay will now try to determine whether this is an appropriate way to increase turn-out Compulsory voting laws exist in approximately 30 countries of the world, with varying levels of enforcement. The enforcement of compulsory voting laws seems to have a strong influence on turnout, countries enforcing compulsory voting have on average a 10-15 percent higher turnout than other countries. Six of the top ten countries practice compulsory voting: Australia has an average turnout of 83%, Singapore, Liechtenstein, Belgium at 84%, Nauru and Austria with a slightly lower but still significantly, higher than countries without legislation at 79%. All democratic governments consider participating in national elections a right of citizenship and a citizen's civic responsibility. Some consider that participation in elections is also a citizen's duty. ...read more.


The cost of enforcement may lead some electoral administrations to lower their standards of enforcement. Many countries offer loopholes, intentionally and otherwise, which allow non-voters to go unpunished. For example, in many countries it is required to vote only if you are a registered voter, but it is not compulsory to register, such as within Australia. There is clearly a strong correlation between the level of enforcement of compulsory voting laws and voter turnout. The obvious theory supporting the positive relationship between compulsory voting and higher participation at elections is simple; each citizen's desire to avoid being punished for not voting increases the likelihood of them making the effort to vote. Enforced compulsory voting increases turnout by a little more than 15 percent, compared with countries where voting is voluntary. However, compulsory voting is not the only factor to increase Turnout with in a country. Socio-economic, political and institutional factors have all been proposed as having an impact on voter turnout. Therefore it can be concluded that there are a number of significant factors that influence the level of turn-out world wide. These include educational level, wealth, type of electoral system and type of election but a main significant factor is whether legislation is used forcing people to vote. Yet this has been found to have its advantages and also and significantly its disadvantages. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. Malta at the turn of the 19th Century.

    Lucian tower, St. Tumas tower, it-Torri l-Ahmar etc. tow days later Malta and Gozo was invaded by the French troops and Napoleon. Some resistance was put-up by the Maltese but thwarted by pro-French generals. On the other hand Gozo quickly surrendered agreeing to terms with the French.

  2. The Impact of Electoral Design on the Legislature.

    obtaining all of the legislative seats at the national level despite nearly half of the voters not supporting the winners. With a PR system, the winning party in this scenario would obtain close to 51 percent of the seats, while the other successful parties who met a given threshold would share the remaining percentage.

  1. Influences on Voting Behaviour

    He stated that polls indicated that people liked Tony Blair and general direction of the 'new Labour'. Such images are partly created by the media and though they may not be accurate, they do help people decide how to vote.

  2. Citizenship - participating in society

    You may continue on a separate sheet if necessary. Activity Group/Individual Date 1) Our PSE teacher explained about our coursework topic.He said we were going to learn about the drugs situation and then we were going to teach younger p upils in our school facts about drugs and the dangers.

  1. Politics is a very emotive word and is used by different people to mean ...

    Bad for the country, but unquestionably good for business (and lawyers, and consultants).11 As stated by Heywood (1999, p456) when politics are engaged as government, the government is perceived as the formal political machinery of the country as a whole, its institutions, laws, political policies and key figures .The issues

  2. The Kurds make up about blank% of Turkeys population

    The Turks, being the majority in power, were somehow able to renegotiate the treaty. (Ocalan) The Treaty of Sevres was never ratified for the Kurds and the Kurdish people continued to be a nation with out a state. The Kurds had a few uprising in the next 15 years but were met with fierce and swift Turkish repression.

  1. Slavery in Latin America

    In the early 1950s, with recurring economic problems and with the death (1952) of his wife, Per´┐Żn's popular support began to diminish. Agricultural production, long the chief source of revenue, dropped sharply and the economy faltered.

  2. Notes on Citizenship and Democracy.

    inform citizens what is happening at present and also they can use it themselves to share their opinions. 1. After the fall of communism in the 1980s, the concepts of democracy and freedom of opinion and conscience have spread along the world.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work