Does closeness matter for voter turnout in proportional systems? An examination at the local level in Sweden

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Series Details Volume 17, Number 4, Pages 571-586
Publication Date December 2018
ISSN 1680-4333 (print) | 1682-0983 (online)
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The purpose of this study is to examine whether citizens are more likely to vote in a political system that uses a proportional electoral system if the election is close.

The results show that citizens who live in Swedish municipalities in which the competition between the two leading parties is close are more likely to vote. However, the results also show that the vote gap between the two major traditional blocs, the left and the right, is not important for citizens when they are considering whether or not to vote in municipal elections.

In the study, a theoretical argument has been formulated which suggests that voters are confused and discouraged when there are many aspects to consider regarding the form of an upcoming coalition government. Accordingly, potential voters see the issue of how the coalition will be formed as too complex, and therefore the vote gap between the two blocs is not an issue that is prioritised by potential voters.

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