Voter fatigue

Voter fatigue

In politics, voter fatigue is the apathy that the electorate can experience when they are required to vote too often.

It is often used as a criticism of the direct democracy system, in which voters are constantly asked to decide on policy via referendums. However, proponents often counter that voter fatigue may be lessened by direct democracy as voters will feel their vote has more effect.

Voter fatigue can cause notoriously low voter turnout rates, and potentially more protest vote, and supposedly occurs for a variety of reasons:

*voters are not interested in the issue.
*voters are bothered by the inconvenience of physically voting.
*voters feel their vote will not count / the election has "already been won" by one side.
*voters feel that it is not worth their while to educate themselves as to the issues and hence their vote would not be worth making. This is related to the concept of rational ignorance.
*voters have to vote for more institutions than before. For example in the UK voters once only had to vote for National and Local elections but now there are elections for the EU parliament, and additional local government elections, directly elected mayors, Scottish and Welsh parliament elections, and the referendums which established these institutions.

It can also happen when voters don't see politicians as able to resolve their problems. An obvious case is the one of Belgium, where 10% of the eligible voters prefer to be fined rather than going in the polling stations, since the vote is compulsory in Belgium.

Amongst the methods that can be used to combat voter fatigue are:

*Making it mandatory to vote, as in the Australian electoral system and in Belgium (Elections in Belgium) and Brazil.
*Using sortition to choose those eligible to vote (thus increasing the worth of a single vote).

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