With the attention of scholars already drawn to the decline in voter turnout in new democracies after the first wave of open/competitive elections, by relying on aggregate data studies have provided explanations for cross-national variations in turnout. Yet, the reliance on aggregate data makes it hard to establish what had lead individuals to abstain from the political process. Thus, in this chapter, by using individual-level analysis from the European Social Survey and the Afrobarometer we re-interrogate the determinants of non-voting in two new democracies of post-Communist Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Having tested the various explanations for non-voting, first, our results show some consistency across the two regions, suggesting non-voters are those who lack any form of psychological engagement with politics, who are isolated from the recruitment networks and live in urban areas. Second, our result tends to be contradictory, in which while in post-Communist Europe non-voters are men and those with lower level of education in sub-Saharan Africa they are women and those with higher level of education. Third, pertaining to country level indicators, apart from the fact non-voters in both regions are those who have no trust in elections and who lived in countries with disproportional electoral systems, the results tend to be varied.
Part of the book: Elections