Monday, April 23, 2007

Turnout high and low

It seems as if yesterday was a beautiful day all over Europe. In terms of electoral participation it had its positive and negative effects. As well noted throughout the media, electoral turnout was the highest in 25 years in the presidential race in France.
Things are quite different in Saxony-Anhalt. Electoral turnout set a new record there as well - a record low. Only 35,3 per cent (Source: Volksstimme) of those allowed to vote decided to actually cast their vote. The lowest turnout happened in the "Saalekreis" where only 32.2 percent of the voters went to vote.
Just like in the state elections last year, Saxony-Anhalt makes headlines with its low turnout numbers. The low turnout in this election may be due to the nature of the election, which became necessary because of the administrative reform in the state. With the creation of new counties elections became necessary, however, the councils are rather distant organs for voters. On the other hand, it seems as if overall dissatisfaction with politics plays another major role in the low turnout numbers. Infratest dimap (through the MDR) cites disappointment in politics as the number-one reason (51%) for the low turnout. On the other hand, 58% of the respondents of a survey said that they weren't interested in local elections.


melanie said...

A similar phenomenon happens in local Australian politics. Although we have compulsory voting, the lack of interest is registered as 'protest votes' (voting for minority parties that you know cannot win in the preferential system). People only really get serious when they are voting at the federal level.

melanie said...

Btw, see the challenge I left you on your 'view from the Fockeberg' post.

Aufbau Ost said...

I saw it, will see when I find the time to do something with it.

BTW, low turnout in local elections is nothing new, it is just this really really low turnout that is worrysome, especially as it also happens in other elections.