Presentation on theme: "Global trends in Voter Turnout"— Presentation transcript:
1 Global trends in Voter Turnout Joram Rukambe,Africa Programme Manager, International IDEA
2 Objectives of the Presentation Highlight key trends in voter turnout and participation at the global levelPresentation based on research done by International IDEA on voter turnout world wide:Key sources include IDEA database on voter turnout (2002); The Global Report on Voter Turnout (2002); and the regional follow-up for Western Europe (2004) – see
3 IntroductionThe 20th and 21th centuries saw increased enfranchisement of voters across geographical, racial, socio-economic and gender dividesThe 1970s – 1990s saw globalization of democracy - the ‘third wave of democracy’Independence & Democracy increased democratic countries from 27 % in 1970 to 62% in 2000 (Freedom House).
4 More avenues for political participation TODAY than EVER before Direct DemocracyCitizen’s initiativesRecallsReferendaElections:SupranationalNational (federal/central)State (provincial/regional)Local/district/municipal/cantonLobbying and media debatesCivic and other community-based (traditional & religious) forums: (Khotla)
5 Reality check2004 saw more people voting than ever before in the history of mankindUS, Ukraine, Indonesia, Afghanistan, India, etc.European ParliamentSouth Africa Botswana Namibia Mozambique
6 Regional trends in voter turnout: 1990 - 2001 Eastern Europe72%Western Europe78%Oceania (Pacific and Australia)79%North, Central, and Southern America, Caribbean65%Africa64%
7 Regional trends cont. Western Europe Oceana N-America and Caribbean Liechtenstein (17) 92%Belgium (18) 92.5%OceanaAustralia (22) 94%New Zealand (19) 92%N-America and CaribbeanBahamas (6) 91%Canada (18) 73%AfricaBurundi (1) 91%Angola (1) 91%Mauritius (7) 82%South Africa, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique
8 Correlation between democratic consolidation and voter turnout?
9 Slow and steady decline in voter turnout since the 1980s Voter apathy is across all regions: older and newer, and smaller and larger democracies.
16 Socio-political Factors Bad governance: scandals, lack of transparency and accountabilityVoter distrust of political and electoral processes: ‘elections will always be stolen’Literacy rateGerrymanderLack of viable alternative to the incumbent: ‘when elections are over before they start’Social exclusion and political disenfranchisement: women, non-nationals, young voters, absentee voters
17 Systemic FactorsElectoral system: PR yield higher voter turnout compared to FPTP, unless in close-result constituenciesVoting age constraint: lowering to 16?Allowing non-national to vote, especially in local elections?Compulsory vs. voluntary registration and voting: pros and cons
18 Systemic FactorsParty-systems: multiparty systems tend to encourage high turnout, especially if each vote counts and is not be ‘wasted’Election dates: holiday season - Dec 26th! rainy season?
19 Mechanical factorsAccess to voter registration and voting: time and distanceAccess to information and education on democracy, elections, and votingSeveral day voting [Mozambique, Namibia]Declaring voting day a public holiday, or voting during the weekendVoter fatigue. ‘Yoked elections?Easy access to registration and voting for PLDs: Braille & wheelchair-friendly venues
20 Mechanical factorsAutomation of key electoral processes (making it easy):Voter registration [state initiated & continuous]VotingCountingAccess to election dispute resolution mechanisms, including alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (party liaison structures)
21 Other Factors which affect electoral participation EMB independence and competence:How members are appointed and operateStaff skills and competenceEMB financial and operational autonomyEMB stakeholder management capacityPublic trust and confidence in political and electoral processesThe EMB must work hard to make this possible – ‘making the impossible possible’
22 ConclusionThe process of increasing voter turnout requires a two-prong approach:Systemic reform: electoral systems and election proceduresIntroduction of vigorous and sustained civic and voter education campaigns to lure voters back to the pollsStakeholder participation (multi-sectoral collaboration) is critical for the success of this two-prong intervention-End-