No. 23




Who Does Not Vote? A Comparative Survey of Three Riigikogu Elections

  • Rein Toomla

    Rein Toomla

    Teacher, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu

The article deals with the part of electorate that did not attend the elections.

Voter turnout in elections has been around 60 per cent; in 2003 it was a little lower, in later elections it was somewhat higher. Thus, around 40 per cent or a little less than that of the citizens of the Republic of Estonia who have the right to vote do not attend elections. This data is based on the surveys of public opinion that were ordered by the Institute of Government and Politics of the University of Tartu and carried out within the framework of research projects financed through targeted funding. The author has compared the results of three polls that were made immediately after the Riigikogu elections of 2003, 2007 and 2011. The survey was based on six demographic indicators – gender, age, nationality, education, employment and place of residence. As a positive trend the author points out the decrease of the percentage of those who did not vote both among men and women. To summarise the surveys taking into account ethnic affiliation, it can be noted that there is practically no difference in attending elections, both Estonians and non-Estonians, in the latter case mostly Russians, show more or less similar voter turnout. When all other social-demographic criteria are studied, it can be seen that there are problems everywhere – men are more passive as voters than women, young people still do not want to attend elections, the voter turnout among people with basic education cannot be compared to that of people with higher education, the unemployed have to a great extent lost interest in the elections and many people living in smaller prefer to stay home on election days.

Full article in Estonian