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Global voter turnout has been in decline since the 1960s – we wanted to find out why

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Any democratic nation in the world holding a legislative or presidential election in the late 1960s could expect around 77% of its citizens to turn up to vote. These days, they can expect more like 67% – a decline that is both problematic and puzzling.

Research shows that low turnout is bad for democracy. It usually means that socioeconomically underprivileged citizens vote less and, as a result, public policies benefit the rich. Politicians feel less under public scrutiny and turn a deaf ear to the needs of the wider public. Instead of formulating general public policies serving society at large, governments can more easily target benefits to their core supporters.

And the decline has occurred against a backdrop that might be more likely to imply an increase in election participation. Educational attainment has increased since the 1960s, for example and election results have become closer – which would be thought to mobilise electorates.........

© The Conversation

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