In political science, voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who participated in an election (often defined as those who cast a ballot). Eligibility varies by country, and the voting-eligible population should not be confused with the total adult population.
|Part of the Politics series|
After increasing for many decades, there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1980s. In general, low turnout is attributed to disillusionment, indifference, or a sense of futility (the perception that one's vote won't make any difference). According to Stanford University political scientists Adam Bonica and Michael McFaul, there is a consensus among political scientists that "democracies perform better when more people vote."
Low turnout is usually considered to be undesirable. As a result, there have been many efforts to increase voter turnout and encourage participation in the political process. In spite of significant study into the issue, scholars are divided on the reasons for the decline. Its cause has been attributed to a wide array of economic, demographic, cultural, technological, and institutional factors.