A voter turns in she ballot in ~ a polling station in Mannheim, Germany, on march 14. About two-thirds of adult in Germany speak it is vital to make voting compulsory for every citizens. (Uwe Anspach/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Around two-thirds of adults in Germany, France and also the united kingdom say the is crucial for their national government to make voting compulsory for every citizens. But views in the United states are much an ext divided, follow to a survey carried out in the four nations in the loss of 2020.

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None the the 4 surveyed countries at this time have causing obligation voting steps in place, but Germany, France and also the UK all need citizens to register to vote. Worldwide, 27 nations have compulsory voting laws, according to the Institute for Democracy and also Electoral help (IDEA).

This evaluation examines people’s perspectives toward mandatory poll in France, Germany, the joined Kingdom and also the unified States, using data from nationally representative telephone surveys the 4,069 adults from Nov. 10 to Dec. 23, 2020, throughout the four countries. In addition to the survey, we analyzed current laws on compulsory voting approximately the world, relying on information from the worldwide Institute for Democracy and Electoral help (IDEA).

Here space the questions provided for this analysis, in addition to responses, and its methodology.


Among the nations surveyed, mandatory poll is most well-known in Germany, wherein 66% of adults say it is essential for the national federal government to require all citizen to poll – consisting of 43% who say the is very important. French adults show similar support because that such a policy, v 39% speak it is really important and 26% speak it is somewhat important. In the UK, 63% to speak it is important for the federal government to mandate vote for all citizens, including 37% that say that is very important.

In the U.S., where turnout soared in the 2020 presidential election, opinion is around evenly break-up on the prominence of do voting causing obligation for all citizens. When 51% to speak it is crucial (including 31% that say the is very important), 48% speak it is no important, including a 3rd who speak it is not at all important for the government to make voting mandatory for every citizens.

There is a stark partisan division in Americans’ views. Just over a third of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (36%) to speak it is very or somewhat important for vote to it is in mandatory for all citizens, compared with a bulk of Democrats and also Democratic leaners (62%).


In all four nations surveyed, women are an ext likely than men to to speak it is important that the government make vote mandatory for all citizens. For example, 57% of females in the U.S. Think such a plan is really or somewhat important, compared with 45% that American men. Similar gender splits occur in Germany (where women space 10 portion points more likely come say this), the UK (+9 points) and France (+8 points). Females in the U.S. Have actually consistently been more likely than guys to vote.

In the U.S., Germany and also the UK, those with reduced incomes space also much more likely 보다 those with higher incomes come think it’s vital for the government to do voting mandatory. The space is largest in the U.S., wherein 64% the lower-income adults feel that is important to do voting compulsory, compared with 46% that middle-income adults and also 38% that higher-income adults.

Though rarely overall, mandatory voting legislations are fairly common in Latin American countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and also Peru, follow to IDEA. Voting is additionally compulsory in Australia, Turkey, Singapore and also Belgium.


In some locations where poll is compulsory, the government exempts details people native complying. This is the case in Argentina, where voting is voluntary for those ages 16 to 18, and likewise in Brazil, which in addition exempts those who space older 보다 70 and also those who room illiterate.

Even despite 27 nations have regulations that mandate voting in nationwide elections, such legislations are enforced in only 14 of this countries. Come avoid feasible sanctions, individuals normally must carry out a legitimate explanation for why castle abstained. Sanctions implemented on nonvoters usually can encompass disenfranchisement or a fine, which varies by country.

In Singapore, voters who skip poll are gotten rid of from the voter registry till they reapply because that inclusion and include a legit excuse. In Bolivia, public services such as withdrawing accumulation from a bank can be frozen if an separation, personal, instance does not present proof of voting during a three-month period following a national election.

Note: right here are the questions provided for this analysis, in addition to responses, and also its methodology.

Election system & poll ProcessDemocracyInternational political Values
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Aidan Connaughton is a research study assistant focusing on worldwide attitudes research at Pew research study Center.
Shannon Schumacher is a research associate focusing on global attitudes study at Pew research Center.

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