Virtuous villages and sinful cities? A spatial analysis into the effects of community characteristics on turnout and blank/invalid voting in local elections in Belgium 2006-2012
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
Acta politica : international journal of political science. - Meppel, 1965, currens
, p. 80-101
University of Antwerp
Does the size of a community influence political participation? Using spatial analysis, we investigate this question for the absolute level and change in local electoral turnout and invalid voting, using municipality-level data (N=588) from the 2006 and 2012 local elections in Belgium. The population size of a community has a clear negative effect on political participation, while area size matters far less and has a positive association. Compulsory voting in Belgium keeps young people showing up at elections, but with a higher likelihood of spoiling their vote. One of the main negative influences on participation is computer voting instead of paper and pencil ballots. Clear differences between the language communities in Belgium remain, after controlling for other community variables.