When it comes to non-voters, politicians and media representatives ask themselves the question: why do people forego their right to vote? What are their reasons? It seems interesting to learn more about the motives for voter abstention and what could be done to counteract this development.
In the previous part in our non-voters series, we analyzed and had a closer look at the socio-demographic factors of non-voters. However, it is even more interesting to examine why individuals are not going to elections. This could offer a possible strategy to increase voter turnout.
The reasons why someone becomes a non-voter are of course as varied as there are people. Still, on the basis of statistics there are three groups: 1. political alienation 2. criticism for parties 3. satisfaction with the current state of affairs.
Non-voters do not feel represented
The first group is characterized through political alienation. The individual does not feel noticed by the government. Moreover, they believe their needs are not addressed.
This manner is emphasized through a negative impression by parties and politicians. Foremost, it is about a lack of difference between the parties. That is why the own vote seems senseless because changes will not be visible. In this case, voters have resigned and do not deal with politics anymore.
Typical phrases by non-voters in this case are: “They’ll do what they want anyway”. “It’s always the same people”.
Voter abstention as an unpleasant warning
The second group sees a kind of rebellion in their abstention. Non-voting is rated as criticism on parties – a kind of warning. It is an active decision to somehow “punish” parties. Often former loyal voters of a certain party do not support decisions made by the party anymore. Since no party corresponds with their political orientation, they forego to go voting.
The satisfied non-voters
The third group of non-voters are the satisfied. Those are the ones who do not go to the election because they are happy with the status quo or the election was already decided beforehand. For example in smaller municipalities, where the mayor is in office for decades and there is no serious competitor. An election seems unnecessary. In comparison to the first group, they do not resign because of a lack of alternatives but agree with it.
This group only describes a small part of non-voters.
Of course there are fluid transitions between these groups but the categorization offers a good first overview where politics have to work on to increase voter turnout.