The End of Voters in Europe? Electoral Turnout in Europe since WWII

Delwit Pascal

Over the past twenty years, the scientific community and politicians in consolidated democracies have been regularly alarmed by political and electoral participation, portrayed as undergoing a brutal and linear decline. Each election is now scrutinized in terms not only of its results but also of its level of electoral turnout. This paper deals with two important issues—the reality of changes in electoral turnout in Europe and the impact of the institutional constraint of compulsory voting in voter turnout levels—through an analysis of 402 elections held in thirty-five States from 1944 until December, the 31st 2009. We do ob- serve a contemporary erosion of voter turnout but at this stage voters are not so impossible to find as some claim they are. Furthermore, the assumption that interest in, and the importance of, compulsory voting as an institutional constraint encouraging voter turnout is confirmed.

Type Article
Identificateur urn:issn:2164-0505
Language en
Length 44 52
  • Europe as an Area of Economic and Social Regulation
  • Systèmes électoraux et consultatifs
  • Science politique générale
Publication date 2013
  • Turnout, Elections Europe, Abstention
ULB Institutional Reference