Democracy deficit grows between voters and a process they don't value

Corruption and an erosion of trust are cutting into the electorate's interest in elections — but the ballot box is not the only site of engagement in society

31 October 2021 - 00:00 By Imraan Buccus

About 65% of the electorate have registered to vote, but that figure is significantly lower than the number of people who were registered voters at the time of the 2016 local government elections. We also know that confidence in political parties is in steep decline, and that many former voters have told researchers that they will not vote in Monday’s election.

Though we clearly have declining turnout at elections — from 88% in 1999 to just under 60% at the last local elections — our turnout tends to be in line with that of many countries across Europe and indeed in the US; and much higher than countries like Nigeria, where turnout is at 37%. The reality is that globally there is a decline in electoral participation, signifying a democracy deficit or a growing gap between people and processes of the state...

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