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Which Countries Have the Highest Voter Turnout?

Countries that have the highest percentage of registered voters voting in presidential elections include Turkmenistan, which had a voter turnout of 98.7 percent in 2007; and Rwanda, which had a voter turnout of 97.5 percent in 2010. Australia, which has compulsory voting, regularly has a voter turnout rate of 93 to 95 percent for parliamentary elections, and nationwide parliamentary elections in Malta regularly have a voter turnout of 90 to 95 percent. Worldwide, the average turnout of registered voters for presidential elections is about 67 percent. The registered voter turnout for the 2008 presidential election in the United States was about 70 percent.

More facts about voter turnout:

  • Although about two dozen countries worldwide have compulsory voting laws, only about 10 enforce them, including Australia, Uruguay, Singapore, Ecuador and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  • Of the people who are registered to vote in the U.S., the majority vote in presidential elections. In 2004, about 86 percent of registered voters voted; in 2000, about 81 percent did; and in 1992, 89 percent did. What makes the U.S. different from other countries with high voter turnouts is the percentage of people who register to vote in the first place. If voter turnout is calculated by the percentage of the voting age population (VAP) that votes, then the U.S. had only about a 57 percent voter turnout in the 2008 election. Although the number of registered voters increased by 34 percent from 2004 to 2008, the number of people who voted increased by only 9.5 percent.

  • Worldwide, voter turnout and registration each dropped about 10 percent from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.

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