Many (but not all) nations across the globe provide their inhabitants with the right to cast ballots for their representatives in government. Republics and democracies are more likely to guarantee the franchise. Unfortunately, not all eligible voters cast ballots.
Several factors are at play here, including disinterest in politics or a belief that one’s vote doesn’t count, distaste for the candidates on offer, and the absence of necessary documentation (in over half of U.S. states, photo identification is needed to vote).
Top 10 Countries with the Highest Voter Turnout:*
|Rank||Country||Election Type & Year||Turnout (%)|
|3||Equatorial Guinea||2022 Presidential||97.17|
|8||Equatorial Guinea||2016 Presidential||92.70|
|10||Antigua and Barbuda||2014 Parliamentary||90.27|
*Calculated using the results of the most recent national presidential or parliamentary election held within the last 20 years. Age prevents us from including the outcomes in Somalia (1984) and Angola (1992).
If we combine the results of presidential and legislative elections, Rwanda and Singapore would be among the top 10 countries in the world. The cases were both decided by selecting the option with the highest score.
Voter Turnout by Country
Research from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) shows that in a recent national election, Rwanda had the greatest voter participation of any country.
Voter participation is very high in other African or Asian nations, such as Laos, Turkmenistan, Singapore, Vietnam, and Nauru.
High voter participation does not always signify a good election, particularly in nations of the global south or the fourth world.
Freedom House, a watchdog group, gives Rwanda a score of 4 out of 28 in the categories of the electoral process and political participation, saying that elections in Rwanda are marred by numerous irregularities, such as forcing citizens to view propaganda, preventing certain candidates from running, unfair registration practices, and stuffing ballot boxes.
Like Cuba (scoring 0 of 28 points), Laos is dominated by a single political party that decides whether candidates will appear on the ballot. This means that the official turnout statistics should be viewed with scepticism.
However, it is also possible to have high voter participation in free and fair elections. Over 90% of voter participation was recorded in both Antigua & Barbuda (26 of 28) and Nauru (26 of 28).
Recent trends in voter turnout
Recent decades have seen a gradual decline in voter participation throughout the world. Recent elections in most nations have seen lower turnout than those held 20-30 years ago. Election analysts have identified several factors as contributing to this pattern.
One is voter apathy, especially among young voters who may lack knowledge of the electoral process or be disillusioned by what they perceive to be a broken and corrupt system.
Voter suppression is another important factor, particularly in nations rated poorly on the Democracy Index because of their defective democracies or authoritarian governments.
Election analysts remark, however, that low voter participation may indicate that more individuals are being granted the franchise.
It has been a persistent problem in our democracy that only the wealthy, often white men, who could afford to take time off work to vote, have been allowed to cast ballots.
Women, blue-collar workers, and minorities, who were long denied the right to vote and may not be able to change their schedules to vote on a given day or time, now have a better chance of being able to do so.
In light of this, many jurisdictions are implementing measures to make voting easier, such as mail-in ballots, extended voting hours, and online registration.
The Top 10 Lowest Voter-Turnout Countries Are:**
|Rank||Country||Election Type & Year||Turnout (%)|
Results from the most recent national presidential or parliamentary election within the last 20 years were used in the calculation. Haiti made it into the list not once but twice for both its presidential election (18.11%) and its legislative election. We went with the lowest grade.
Voter turnout in the United States
The anticipated 158 million voters in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The turnout in the 2020 election was the greatest it has been since 1900, with over 66.5% of eligible voters casting ballots. About 20 million more people voted in the 2020 election than in 2016.
In 2016, only around 55.72 percent of those eligible to vote cast ballots. U.S. voter participation has consistently trailed below that of other industrialized countries, even in the most recent election cycle of 2020.
Election fraud and the devaluation of the vote in national politics
Public elections in a nation or state are no guarantee of freedom or fairness in such elections. Many nations’ elections are too typical of accusations of vote box stuffing, poor counting methods, or excessive voting requirements.
Also See: Unitary States 2022
Some of the most nefarious tools at the disposal of authoritarian governments include banning competing political parties and candidates and total monopolizing all aspects of the electoral process.
Even in free and fair elections, gerrymandering of voting districts may give one party an unfair advantage and produce a result counter to the people’s will.
Here are the 10 countries with the highest rates of voter turnout:
- Belgium (87.21%)
- Sweden (82.61%)
- Denmark (80.34%)
- Australia (78.96%)
- South Korea (77.92%)
- Netherlands (77.31%)
- Israel (76.10%)
- New Zealand (75.65%)
- Finland (73.14%)
- Hungary (71.65%)
|Country||% of voting-age population||% of registered voters||2022 Population|