Many studies have attempted to find out who the non-voters are and what motivates them. All this information is gathered in order to find a solution to increase voter turnout.
There is no ultimate solution for a high voter turnout. In Germany, for example, voters have the right to vote and to abstain, meaning there will never be a 100% voter turnout.
Even though the turnout in German federal elections is relatively high, there is still room for improvement. Politicians have the duty to motivate more citizens to participate. There are several possible solutions.
Citizen-Friendliness and Individuality Increases Voter Turnout
A frequent reason for non-voting is that citizens feel like there is no difference between parties. Voting seems useless. Therefore, politicians should be clear and open about their positions and not avoid debates.
Citizens must be convinced that an election can bring change.
Depict a Diverse Party Landscape
The media has the duty to report different positions and evaluate them. Small parties should also be included. The party landscape in countries such as Germany is very diverse. Citizens should be motivated to inform themselves about smaller parties as well. Potential voters should not be frightened by the 5%-hurdle, which exists in Germany. Voters should feel that their vote is important and can also be given to smaller, less known parties. Every vote counts – the Green Party was small once too.
Stress the Importance of Small Elections
The voter turnout for the federal election is, as already mentioned, quite high. However, the same is not true for elections on the state and local level. It would help to stress the importance of these elections and the influence they have on the individual’s everyday life.
Introduce Compulsory Voting or not?
Compulsory voting already exists in several countries such as Turkey, Bolivia and Australia. In Australia, compulsory voting has been successful. If a citizen does not vote, they have to pay a fine. Repeated abstention even leads to jail time. So far, voter turnout in Australia was always more than 90%.
In Germany, compulsory voting seems improbable. Opponents claim that is hurts the personal rights. Everyone should be able to decide if they vote.
That is why citizens need to be motivated to vote, best with information.