Political Behavior

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 95–111 | Cite as

How Compelling is Compulsory Voting? A Multilevel Analysis of Turnout

  • Shane Singh
Original Paper


In a recent contribution to Political Behavior (30:455–467), Panagopoulos, using aggregate turnout data, shows that individuals living under compulsory voting rules are most likely to go to the polls when penalties for abstaining are both strict and routinely enforced. In this project, I expand on the work of Panagopoulos by simultaneously examining both election-level and individual-level factors. I use a broad sample of 36 countries, some with compulsory voting and some with voluntary rules, which provides a more detailed understanding of the correlates of turnout. Results indicate that the presence and severity of compulsory rules do indeed affect turnout, while personally held characteristics, including age, education, income, and political efficacy remain critical to an individual’s turnout decision calculus.


Compulsory voting Voter turnout Comparative voter behavior Comparative elections 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, Department of Political ScienceMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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