Compulsory Voting and the Turnout Decision Calculus



By altering the turnout decision calculus, compulsory voting should alter the character of the voting population. Employing survey data across countries and Swiss cantons, I examine how the turnout decision calculus varies across voluntary and compulsory voting systems. Results indicate that many of the demographic, socio-economic and political factors known to correlate with turnout play a relatively weak role in motivating electoral participation where voting is mandatory. Thus, voting populations should be more reflective of the entire electorate in countries with compulsory voting. I conclude with a discussion of the potential implications of my findings.