Cast Your Ballot: Voting in the Americas
By Rachelle Krygier
With the U.S. presidential elections just around the corner, a question arises: What will voter turnout look like? In the 2012 elections, the U.S. had a lower percentage of voters going to the polls than in 14 Latin American countries. But 11 of those countries have compulsory voting laws. Meanwhile, in some countries without mandatory voting, such as Venezuela, political polarization and a failing economy drive voters to the polls in high numbers. On the other hand, in countries like Paraguay, where mandates exist but those who don’t vote are rarely fined, turnout rates are low.
The voting age population data used is based on each country’s voting population ages 18 and older.
*There is no institution to formally collect fines.
SOURCE: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Voter Turnout Database, www.idea.int, accessed August 15, 2016.