Voter turnout sunk to new low

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This week’s mid-term municipal elections in Norway generated the lowest voter turnout in more than a decade. Just under 2.4 million of the country’s 4,017,366 eligible voters actually cast ballots, according to the official figures reported by the counties and state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway).

That amounts to a voter turnout nationwide of 59.7 percent, the lowest since 2003 and, before that, 1922.

Participation in the mid-term elections is usually lower than in national elections, but there was a marked increase in the last local government voting four years ago. That election closely followed a long gunman’s attacks on the government and the Labour Party’s youth organization that killed 77 people and united the country in sorrow.

Voter turnout of less than 60 percent in Norway is viewed as poor, not least compared to voter turnout rates of more than 80 percent during the 1960s, for example. Frank Aarebrot, an election specialist and professor at the University of Bergen, told newspaper Aftenposten that non-voters form a diverse group of people who are uninterested in politics, simply don’t bother to vote, are confused and can’t decide who to vote for, are elderly or sick and can’t get to a voting booth, are youth or immigrants, drug addicts or alcoholics.

newsinenglish.no staff