Comparing voter turnout in different countries

American Voter Turnout Is Shameful, No Matter the Historic Midterms –  47 percent

I just read this article about the voter turnout in the United States midterm elections. And it made me think about what the numbers in other countries were these last years. Take a look at the numbers from Norway, Russia, Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, and the USA. Good reason to congratulate our neighbors, Sweden, but the numbers could very well improve.  The American midterm election this year is not in the statistics but the number if very upsetting. 47 %, The reason why this is significant is the importance of this particular elections. In months before the election we would read headlines like this;

Why are the midterm elections in the US so important? The November vote is increasingly looking like a battle for the future of the country. Control of state houses, the US House of Representatives and the Senate are at stake. Political observers on both sides of the spectrum are calling on people to go out and vote because this could be the most important election in our lifetimes, if not in US history. Source. Opinion politics.

Reading how my friends in the States congratulated themselves for voting (no one in Norway would do that) and then learning about the apparent success that an unprecedented 100 women were elected to serve in Congress, among them Native American, Muslim, African-American, Latina and LGBTQ firsts, the numbers in this article startled me. (Yes I know long sentence)

But what is also true, less than half of eligible voters voted: 47 percent. Even though it represents the highest midterm voter turnout in half a century, it is shameful. Source: Democracy Now. 

During the 2018 midterm elections, voter participation was more than 10 percentage points higher than it was in the 2014 midterm elections, demonstrating Americans’ demand for change and increased enthusiasm for exercising their civic duty to vote.1 That said, nearly 120 million eligible Americans did not participate in the November elections. Source: Center for American Progress.

There seems to be no end to the problems people are meeting in the voting process. If you read the list below it would be difficult for you to guess that this is from an election in the United States in 2018.

This report describes some of the voter suppression measures and other Election Day problems that potentially kept millions of eligible Americans from participating in the 2018 midterm elections. These include:

  1. Voter registration problems
  2. Voter purges
  3. Strict voter ID and ballot requirements
  4. Voter confusion
  5. Voter intimidation and harassment
  6. Poll closures and long lines
  7. Malfunctioning voting equipment
  8. Disenfranchisement of justice-involved individuals
  9. Gerrymandering

Let’s end this by comparing some countries in the recent elections. The numbers are revealing. We can all do better, remember if you are unhappy about what is going on in your country, go out and vote!

Lesson plan

Based on the information in this article make a plan on how to get more people to vote in your country. How can you motivate more to vote and what are the differences between the countries in the chart?


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