Turnout Decline in Romanian National Elections: Is it that Big?

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Abstract

According to official data, Romanian voter turnout decreased by half for the period 1990-2012. Gaps between official and self-reported turnout are larger than those from similar countries. Starting with these findings, this paper questions the official data regarding turnout and brings evidence that turnout in Romanian elections is increasingly underestimated. Three factors are responsible for this: the quality of the electoral registers, ineligible voters and emigration. The effect of these factors grew over time inducing the idea that turnout is sharply decreasing. In fact, the decrease is less pronounced, and most of it took place between 1990 and 2000. In the last part, I discuss the implications of the findings in three domains: theoretical debates, methodological and practical issues.

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