09 September 2005

Declining voter turnout

Russ Kuykendall notes that voter turnout in this country has fallen since 1993 and wonders whether the end of door-to-door enumeration since 1997 has something to do with it. He futher wonders whether we ought to follow Australia and institute compulsory voting. Perhaps there is something to be said for this.

However, there is another possibility, which I addressed here a few years ago: Voter Turnout and Competitive Politics. If an electoral system wastes votes massively and keeps producing the same single-party government time and again, the incentive to vote declines. It is no coincidence that 1993, which saw the decimation of one of our historic parties and the beginning of dominance by another that has yet to end, also saw the start of a decline in voter turnout.

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