Voting Around the World

Election monitor
In Nigeria, a woman is watching a voter register to vote. She wants to make sure the elections are fair. About half of the people who live in Nigeria who are able to vote make their choices in the elections.

In many places in the world, people can vote for their leaders. They have a choice in who runs their countries. Some people don’t vote, though. They might not agree with any candidate. Maybe they don’t think their vote matters. In 2016, a little over 55% of the people who could vote in the United States decided to vote.

How many people vote in countries around the world?

The country where the most people vote is Belgium. In the last election, over 85% of people who could vote there cast their vote. Why is voter turnout so high? Belgium is one of many countries in the world where people are required to vote by law. People may be fined if they do not vote. Other countries with high turnout are Cuba, Australia, Malta, Ethiopia, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The United States has a much lower turnout than these countries. Other countries with low percentages of people who vote are Japan, Chile, and Switzerland. No one knows for sure why these countries have lower numbers of people who vote.

What Do You Think? Imagine that a friend says, “It’s not important to vote.” Would you agree or disagree with your friend? What would you say to them?

Photo Credit: State Department photo by Idika Onyukwu