Voter fatigue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In political science, voter fatigue is a cause of voter abstention which result from the electorates of representative democracies being asked to vote often, on too many issues or without easy access to relevant information.[1] Voter fatigue can be a symptom of efforts that make voting more difficult that some describe as voter suppression, which changes the voting rules and environment in such a way that turnout decreases as the cost of voting increases.


According to the traditional understanding of the concept, voter fatigue arises when citizens are asked to vote frequently or fill out lengthy ballots.[2][3][4][5] Voter fatigue can be contributed to by a psychological phenomenon known as decision fatigue. As this suggests, our brain becomes mentally fatigued after making numerous decisions, so it will attempt to make shortcuts to decrease the workload. As decision fatigue increases, more voters abstain.[6] This can result in lower voter turnout rates.[3]

The process of voting can also be confusing or challenging. In the U.S., the Cost of Voting Index estimates how difficult it is to vote (and register to vote) in each state.[7][8] The index doesn't include other challenges like voter roll purges[9] or such if signature verification standards are so strict that they throw out many more valid votes than invalid ones, with some states requiring residents to 'cure' their ballots by re-signing.[10][11][12]

Combating voter fatigue[edit]

Some of the methods proposed to combat voter fatigue include:


In the run-up to the 2019 UK General Election, it was suggested by some media outlets that the electorate might be altered by abstention from voter fatigue from the third General Election in little over 4 years, having seen one in 2015 and the snap election of 2017, either side of the 2016 EU Membership Referendum.[19]

In Israel, five snap elections from 2019-2022 has led to concerns about voter fatigue.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kostelka, Filip; Krejcova, Eva; Sauger, Nicolas; Wuttke, Alexander (1 June 2023). "Election Frequency and Voter Turnout" (PDF). Comparative Political Studies. doi:10.1177/00104140231169020. S2CID 259062350.
  2. ^ Seib, J. Drew (1 September 2016). "Coping with lengthy ballots". Electoral Studies. 43: 115–123. doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2016.05.011. ISSN 0261-3794.
  3. ^ a b Demsas, Jerusalem (21 August 2023). "Americans Vote Too Much". The Atlantic. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  4. ^ Garmann, Sebastian (March 2017). "Election frequency, choice fatigue, and voter turnout". European Journal of Political Economy. 47: 19–35. doi:10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2016.12.003.
  5. ^ Rallings, C.; Thrasher, M.; Borisyuk, G. (March 2003). "Seasonal factors, voter fatigue and the costs of voting". Electoral Studies. 22 (1): 65–79. doi:10.1016/S0261-3794(01)00047-6.
  6. ^ Augenblick, Ned; Nicholson, Scott (December 2015). "Ballot Position, Choice Fatigue, and Voter Behaviour". The Review of Economic Studies. 83 (2): 460–480. doi:10.1093/restud/rdv047. ISSN 0034-6527.
  7. ^ Schraufnagel, Scot; Pomante, Michael J.; Li, Quan (1 September 2022). "Cost of Voting in the American States: 2022*". Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy. 21 (3): 220–228. doi:10.1089/elj.2022.0041. ISSN 1533-1296.
  8. ^ Corasaniti, Nick; McCann, Allison (20 September 2022). "The 'Cost' of Voting in America: A Look at Where It's Easiest and Hardest". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 January 2023.
  9. ^ "Voter Purges | Brennan Center for Justice". 20 July 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  10. ^ Litt, David (2020). Democracy in one book or less: how it works, why it doesn't, and why fixing it is easier than you think (First ed.). New York, NY. ISBN 978-0-06-287936-3. OCLC 1120147424.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  11. ^ Graham, David A. (21 October 2020). "Signed, Sealed, Delivered—Then Discarded". The Atlantic. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  12. ^ Justin Levitt, Wendy R. Weiser, and Ana Muñoz (24 March 2006). "Making the List: Database Matching and Verification Processes for Voter Registration" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ a b Demsas, Jerusalem (21 August 2023). "Americans Vote Too Much". The Atlantic. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  14. ^ Hersh, Eitan (3 November 2015). "How Democrats Suppress The Vote". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  15. ^ Anzia, Sarah F. (1 April 2011). "Election Timing and the Electoral Influence of Interest Groups". The Journal of Politics. 73 (2): 412–427. doi:10.1017/S0022381611000028. ISSN 0022-3816.
  16. ^ Anthony, Andrew (18 July 2016). "Against Elections: The Case for Democracy by David Van Reybrouck – review". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  17. ^ Ali, Shirin (28 September 2022). "These are the most difficult states to vote in". The Hill. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  18. ^ Rusch, Elizabeth (2020). You call this democracy? : how to fix our government and deliver power to the people. Boston. ISBN 978-0-358-17692-3. OCLC 1124772479.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  19. ^ Proctor, Katie (26 October 2019). "Voters' disillusionment renders expected election tough to call". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  20. ^ Kavaler, Tara (23 March 2021). "A Quiet Election Day in Israel as Voter Fatigue Dampens Turnout". The Media Line. Retrieved 2 July 2022.