Turning out but not voting: invalid ballots in post-communist parliamentary elections

  • Jakub LysekEmail author
  • Tomáš Lebeda
  • Karel Kouba
Original Article


Large numbers of invalid votes in elections can present a threat to the legitimacy of democratic systems. Focusing on the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, three theoretical models explaining the incidence of invalid votes are tested using aggregated data from all legislative elections. While the protest behavior powerfully shapes the incidence of invalid votes in less democratic countries, complex electoral systems and concurrent elections are also associated with high levels of invalid voting (indicating voters’ error). Conversely, we find that most socioeconomic variables are weak predictors of invalid voting while controlling for institutional and political variables in the region. The study has policy implications that the simple electoral design should be preferred.


Invalid voting Parliamentary elections Post-communist politics Electoral behavior 



The authors extend their thanks to the editors and two anonymous reviewers of this article as well as to the panel participants at the ECPR General Conference in Prague for valuable suggestions. Jakub Lysek and Tomáš Lebeda gratefully acknowledge support of the research grant (no. GA13-30062S) of the Philosophical Faculty of the Palacky University Olomouc. Karel Kouba was supported by Internal grant competition of the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Hradec Králové.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science and European StudiesPalacky University in OlomoucOlomoucCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of PoliticsUniversity of Hradec KrálovéHradec KraloveCzech Republic

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