Elections are at the heart of our democracy. Understanding citizens’ decisions to vote or to abstain in elections is crucial, especially when turnout in so many established democracies is declining.In The Motivation to Vote, André Blais and Jean-François Daoust provide an original and elegant model for why people vote. They argue that the decision to vote or abstain hinges on answers to four key questions: Do I like politics? Do I have a duty to vote? Do I care about the outcome? Is it easy to vote? These considerations make sense of people’s turnout decision most of the time, in a wide variety of contexts, and are strongly supported by empirical evidence from elections in five countries (Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and France).The authors also test alternative explanations of voter turnout by looking at contextual factors and the role of habit, but find little evidence to support these hypotheses. This analysis is compelling and further demonstrates the power of their model to provide a provocative and parsimonious explanation of voter turnout in elections.
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