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Article

Access_open Opening the Opaque Blank Box

An Exploration into Blank and Null Votes in the 2018 Walloon Local Elections

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden voting, elections, blank vote, invalid vote, abstention
Auteurs Jean-Benoit Pilet, Maria Jimena Sanhuza, David Talukder e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article, we propose an in-depth exploration of blank and null ballots in the recent 2018 local elections in Wallonia (Belgium). In the official results, both blank and null ballots are merged together and are classified as invalid votes. After obtaining the authorization to access genuine electoral ballots, we study the votes which were not considered for the composition of local councils in detail. The dataset is a representative sample of 13,243 invalidated ballots from 49 Walloon municipalities. We first describe how many of these invalidated ballots are blank and how many are null votes, as well as the nature of the nulled votes (unintended errors or intentionally spoiled ballots). Second, we dig deeper into the differences between ballots that have been intentionally invalidated by voters (blank votes and intentional null votes) and ballots non-intentionally invalidated. Our results show that most of the ballots (two-thirds) are null ballots and that among them, half are unintentional null ballots. Finally, we show that contextual (socio-demographic and political) factors explain the variations in intentional and unintentional null votes across municipalities.


Jean-Benoit Pilet
Jean-Benoit Pilet is professor of political science at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He works on elections, political parties, and democratic reforms. He has recently co-authored Faces on the Ballot. The Personalization of Electoral Systems in Europe (OUP, 2016, with Alan Renwick) and The Politics of Party Leadership (OUP, 2016, with William Cross).

Maria Jimena Sanhuza
Maria Jimena Sanhueza is PhD Researcher in Political Science at Universite Libre de Bruxelles where she is associated to three projects studying Belgian politics. Her research focuses on citizenship, representation and democracy. Before starting her PhD, Maria Jimena worked as assistant researcher for EU HORIZON 2020 projects Pathways to Power and Solidarity in Times on Crisis, and co-authored a few publications on European democracies and representation.

David Talukder
David Talukder is PhD candidate at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He is conducting a thesis on the reform of representative democracy, looking at disadvantaged groups’ evaluation of representative democracy and demands for procedural democratic reforms. His main research interests are related to procedural democratic reforms, participatory democracy and democratic innovations.

Jérémy Dodeigne
Jérémy Dodeigne is associate professor in political science at the Université de Namur. His research areas cover the study of political representation in multilevel systems, local politics, comparative politics and mixed methods research designs. His work appears in journals such as Party Politics, American Behavioral Scientist, Local Government Studies, Regional & Federal Studies, Government & Opposition, and Representation.

Audrey E. Brennan
Audrey E. Brennan is completing a joint doctorate in political science at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Université Laval. Her research interests are political parties, elections, and political participation. Her dissertation studies the effect of leadership change mechanisms on the long-term behaviour of political party members.
Article

How to Improve Local Turnout

The Effect of Municipal Efforts to Improve Turnout in Dutch Local Elections

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden turnout, local elections, get out the vote, campaign, the Netherlands
Auteurs Julien van Ostaaijen, Sabine van Zuydam en Martijn Epskamp
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Even though many municipalities use a variety of means to improve turnout in local elections, citizen participation in local elections is a point of concern in many Western countries, including the Netherlands. Our research question is therefore: How effective are municipal efforts to improve turnout in (Dutch) local elections? To this end, we collected data from three sources: (1) a survey sent to the municipal clerks of 389 Dutch municipalities to learn what they do to improve turnout; (2) data from Statistics Netherlands on municipalities’ socio-demographic characteristics; and (3) data on the turnout in local elections from the Dutch Electoral Council database. Using hierarchical multiple regression analysis, we found that the direct impact of local governments’ efforts to improve turnout is low. Nevertheless, some measures seem to be able to make a difference. The relative number of polling stations was especially found to impact turnout.


Julien van Ostaaijen
Julien van Ostaaijen is assistant professor of public administration at the Tilburg Institute of Governance (Tilburg University).

Sabine van Zuydam
Sabine van Zuydam is assistant professor of public administration at the Tilburg Institute of Governance (Tilburg University) and researcher at Necker van Naem.

Martijn Epskamp
Martijn Epskamp is a researcher of the municipality of Rotterdam (Research and Business Intelligence department)
Serie

Ambitieuze en ambivalente vernieuwing van de lokale democratie in Nederland

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2019
Auteurs Dr. Linze Schaap, Prof. dr. Frank Hendriks, Dr. Niels Karsten MA e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article in the series on the local democratic audit, the authors argue that municipal democracy in the Netherlands has become a multiple democracy. Within the formal framework of representative democracy, numerous democratic arrangements have emerged that may be referred to as participatory, direct and also what the authors call ‘do-democracy’. Additions to representative democracy did not come without reason: representative democracy is not a perfect system, either in theory or in practice. Efforts have been made to improve the functioning of representative democracy in a number of ways. Three of these are discussed in this article. The authors note that these three reforms do not solve the problems in representative democracy. So the Dutch municipalities have started looking for additions to representative democracy. In this article various forms of participatory, do-it-yourself and direct democracy are discussed. Many effects of these reforms are still unknown and knowledge about them has crumbled, but one conclusion can be drawn: people with a low education are not inclined to take part, even with arrangements that are easily accessible. Striving for a more vital local democracy seems meaningful; the authors formulate a number of ways of thinking about this.


Dr. Linze Schaap
Dr. L. Schaap is universitair hoofddocent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Prof. dr. Frank Hendriks
Prof. dr. F. Hendriks is hoogleraar bestuurskunde aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Dr. Niels Karsten MA
Dr. N. Karsten MA is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Dr. Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg en voorzitter van de Rekenkamercommissie in de gemeente Zundert.

Charlotte Wagenaar MSc.
C.C.L. Wagenaar MSc is onderzoeker bij de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.
Artikel

De aanstellingswijze gewogen

Een overzicht van argumenten voor en tegen verschillende aanstellingswijzen van de burgemeester

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2017
Auteurs Dr. Julien van Ostaaijen, Dr. Niels Karsten en Prof. dr. Pieter Tops
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article offers the reader an overview of arguments for and against the different modes of appointments of Dutch mayors. The authors do this from different perspectives that are based on relevant values of good governance. In relation to the intended deconstitutionalization of the mode of appointment, they want to contribute with this overview to the debate on the role of the mayor and the mode of appointment. The three modes of appointment discussed are nomination by the Crown, election by the municipal council and direct election by citizens. On the basis of this research, they conclude that changing the mode of appointment to one of the three (pure) modes of appointment has advantages as well as disadvantages, but that the combination has important consequences for the functioning of the local governance system as a whole. In addition, they conclude somewhat paradoxically that the mode of appointment is only one of the factors that influences the functioning of a mayor. Therefore, the question about the mode of appointment of Dutch mayors must be considered within a broader framework of possible measures, with the underlying questions: what kind of mayor, and what kind of local governance, do we want ultimately?


Dr. Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg en voorzitter van de Rekenkamercommissie in de gemeente Zundert.

Dr. Niels Karsten
Dr. N. Karsten MA is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Prof. dr. Pieter Tops
Prof. dr. P.W. Tops is hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg en lector Openbaar bestuur aan de Politieacademie.

    This article investigates the state of affairs of local participation and participation wishes, and its backgrounds. The central question is if those who participate a lot are also those who wish to have more participation or not. It is not possible to simply summarize the developments in time in terms of ‘less and less’ participation and ‘more and more’ wishes. Since the seventies the turnout in municipal elections has fallen (against fluctuations without trend at the national elections) and collective actions for local goals have remained at the same level (against a fall in collective actions for supralocal goals). In 2016 also less people have appeared to participate non-electorally (19% local activists) than electorally (54% turnout in 2014). In addition the support for new opportunities for participation is larger than the actual use of existing opportunities. Political participants are almost as often as non-participants in favour of new opportunities for participation. In line with previous research the authors find several social and political attitudes in support of promoting more opportunities for participation. For participants as well as non-participants it applies that support for more opportunities is promoted by ‘positive’ characteristics (like interest in local politics, worries about the environment) as well as ‘negative’ ones (dissatisfaction with local democracy, disbelief in the responsiveness of councillors).


Prof. dr. Paul Dekker
Prof. dr. P. Dekker is hoofd van de onderzoekssector Participatie, Cultuur en Leefomgeving van het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau en hoogleraar Civil Society aan de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Dr. Josje den Ridder
Dr. J.M. den Ridder is wetenschappelijk medewerker bij het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau.
Artikel

Lokale verkiezingen: een lokaal of nationaal feest der democratie?

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2017
Auteurs Dr. Eefje Steenvoorden, Babs Broekema MSc en Dr. Jeroen van der Waal
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The term ‘second-order election’ indicates some elections are less important for citizens than national elections. This article investigates to what extent that applies for the Dutch elections of the municipal council. The research builds on literature about the second-order nature of the local elections in the Netherlands. The authors focus on the question to what extent the Dutch elections of the municipal council are second-order elections, by comparing voting at local and national elections in different ways. They compare four aspects of local and national voting: the turnout, the underlying factors that explain the turnout, the factors that explain voting for local parties, and the national or local character of the voting motives at the municipal elections in 2014. The results do not give a clear answer to the question to which extent municipal elections are locally oriented. The four different angles all deliver ambiguous patterns. So municipal elections indeed partly have a second-order nature as previously argued and shown. Nevertheless, we must not underestimate local affinity and political involvement. The fact that some of the citizens are interested in local politics, local parties and in local election electoral programmes is pointing out a local political dynamics.


Dr. Eefje Steenvoorden
Dr. E.H. Steenvoorden is universitair docent politieke sociologie bij de vakgroep Sociologie aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Babs Broekema MSc
B. Broekema MSc is promovendus aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. Aan dezelfde universiteit deed ze een master Bestuurskunde, Beleid en Politiek.

Dr. Jeroen van der Waal
Dr. J. van der Waal is universitair hoofddocent politieke sociologie bij de vakgroep Sociologie aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Article

Vragen naar de bekende weg?

Een analyse van informatiebronnen waarop schriftelijke vragen over Europese zaken in de Nederlandse Tweede Kamer zijn gebaseerd

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 2 2016
Trefwoorden national parliaments, European Union, parliamentary questions, the Netherlands
Auteurs Rik de Ruiter, Jelmer Schalk en Yorick van Rijthoven
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This paper analyses the information sources members of the Dutch Lower House base their questions on with regard to EU affairs in the period 1995-2013. Knowledge of the type of information sources to base questions on is vital for determining what the conditions are under which members of national parliaments can scrutinize the decisions taken by the national government at the EU level. The involvement of national parliaments in EU affairs is according to many scholars a necessary condition for closing the democratic deficit of the European Union, especially when the turnout in elections for the European Parliament remains low and for national parliaments remains stable and relatively high. An original dataset is constructed including all sets of written parliamentary questions on EU affairs asked by Dutch MPs in the period 1995-2013, categorized by different types of information sources on which the question is based. These different categories of information sources are regressed with a variable measuring the Treaty changes impacting on the intensity of contact between MPs of different national parliaments and several variables measuring the characteristics of Dutch MPs and their parties. The findings indicate that Dutch MPs base their written questions primarily on coverage on EU affairs by national newspapers. Moreover, MPs are more likely to use sources rooted in a national context for asking questions when they are a member of a party with a negative attitude towards European integration. These findings imply that parliamentary control via written questions over the decisions of the national executive at the EU level can be strengthened by increasing national media coverage on EU affairs, allowing the EU public sphere to develop further in the future.


Rik de Ruiter
Rik de Ruiter is als universitair docent Bestuurskunde verbonden aan het Instituut Bestuurskunde van de Universiteit Leiden. Zijn onderzoeksinteresse gaat uit naar politiek, beleid en bestuur van de Europese Unie.

Jelmer Schalk
Jelmer Schalk is als universitair docent bestuurskunde verbonden aan het Instituut Bestuurskunde van de Universiteit Leiden. Zijn onderzoeksinteresse gaat uit naar publiek management, interorganisationele netwerken en sociale netwerkanalyse.

Yorick van Rijthoven
Yorick van Rijthoven (MSc.) is een recent afgestudeerd bestuurskundige aan de Universiteit Leiden en heeft zich gespecialiseerd in internationale en Europese bestuurskunde. Zijn onderzoeksinteresse gaat uit naar o.a. interparlementaire samenwerking over EU-aangelegenheden, het EU-besluitvormingsproces en (internationaal) publiek management.
Artikel

Politieke fragmentatie in Nederlandse gemeenten

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 1 2016
Auteurs Mr. dr. Jan Lunsing en Prof. dr. Michiel Herweijer
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    A gradual process of fragmentation is going on in the Dutch political landscape. This article first describes the political fragmentation (the number of parties in the parliament, the popularly elected body) of the Dutch municipalities after the local elections of march 2014. Next the authors address the background factors of political fragmentation. These factors are the task heaviness, the municipal size, the turnout at local elections and the administrative instability. Then they take up the consequences of political fragmentation. A high level of political fragmentation is accompanied by a somewhat higher absenteeism (so there is a little less ‘civil service power’), a somewhat higher debt per capita (so there are somewhat less financial reserves) and lower performance in the area of separate waste collection (an indication of a somewhat lower level of ‘civil society power’). The absence of an above average political fragmentation can be seen as an administrative resource. The hypothesis that municipalities with a higher level of political fragmentation are characterized by a higher number of administrative crises (early retiring administrators) could not be statistically accepted, nor (not yet) rejected.


Mr. dr. Jan Lunsing
Mr. dr. J.R. Lunsing is als onderzoeker en secretaris verbonden aan StiBaBo (Winsum). In mei 2015 promoveerde hij aan de Universiteit Twente bij Bas Denters en Michiel Herweijer op een proefschrift over de kloof tussen de burgers en het bestuur.

Prof. dr. Michiel Herweijer
Prof. dr. M. Herweijer is sinds 2011 als bijzonder hoogleraar verbonden aan de vakgroep bestuurskunde van de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Hij is directeur van de Noordelijke Rekenkamer en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.
Artikel

De slagkracht van populisme. Een onderzoek naar de houding tegenover populisme bij jongeren en jongvolwassenen in Vlaanderen

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 1 2016
Trefwoorden public opinion, Populism, Democracy, adolescents and young adults, political attitudes
Auteurs Gil Keppens, Dr. Jessy Siongers, Dr. Bram Spruyt e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Populism is usually studied by investigating the political discourses of parties considered to be populist. In contrast, this paper attempts to measure the support for a populist attitude among adolescents and young adults (age 14 to 30) in Flanders (N = 2618), the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. This paper answers two research questions: (1) Which adolescents and young adults support the populist attitude and which are the core elements of populism that get the most support? (2) To what extent are adolescents and young adults who support the core elements of populism willing to be politically engaged? The results show that: (1) the support for the populist attitude is widespread among young people in Flanders, and (2) the relationship between a support for populism and political engagement is nuanced. Implications of the support of the populist attitude for democratic participation are discussed.


Gil Keppens
Gil Keppens is als doctoraatsstudent verbonden aan de onderzoeksgroep TOR van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Dr. Jessy Siongers
Dr. Jessy Siongers is als doctoraal assistente verbonden aan de vakgroep Sociologie van de Universiteit Gent.

Dr. Bram Spruyt
Dr. Bram Spruyt is docent bij de onderzoeksgroep TOR van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Lauren Vandenbossche
Lauren Vandenbossche is als doctoraatsstudent verbonden aan de onderzoeksgroep TOR van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Filip Van Droogenbroeck
Filip Van Droogenbroeck is als doctoraatsstudent verbonden aan de onderzoeksgroep TOR van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Article

Het effect van politieke sofisticatie op de (intentie tot) opkomst bij eerste- en tweederangsverkiezingen in België en Nederland

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 2016
Trefwoorden political sophistication, first- and second-order elections, turnout
Auteurs Dieter Stiers
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this paper we investigate the effect of political sophistication on turnout and whether this effect differs in second-order national elections. Political sophistication is thought to influence turnout because the more sophisticated voters have access to more information about the electoral and the party system. In this paper, we start from the expectation that these effects should be even stronger in the context of secondorder national elections, where information about the stakes of the election is not readily available. We analyse citizens’ willingness to turn out to vote at different levels of government in Belgium and the Netherlands. The results show that a higher degree of political sophistication increases the probability to turn out at the national as well as the European level. Our expectation that this effect would be larger at the European level, however, is not supported by these results.


Dieter Stiers
Dieter Stiers werkt als doctoraatsstudent aan het Centre for Citizenship and Democracy van de KU Leuven. Zijn onderzoek richt zich op verkiezingsgedrag en in het bijzonder op de oorzaken en gevolgen van electorale volatiliteit.

    Does scaling up municipalities strengthen or does it weaken (local) political participation? This is an important question because of the intention – as it is written down in the Dutch coalition agreement – to gradually scale up Dutch municipalities to 100.000+ inhabitants. This article answers the question on the basis of a meta-analysis, voter turnouts, the national election study and interviews. The author has also examined behavioural indicators for political participation, especially the turnout figures at local elections. The conclusion from this analysis by the author is clear and unambiguous: as the size of the local government (the municipality) increases (local) political participation decreases. For a lot of forms of political participation a size of about 10.000 inhabitants seems to be the optimal scale for local government. Because other (recent) research in the Netherlands has shown that the assumed cost savings from municipal amalgamation are not achieved, the desirability of (further) upscaling of Dutch municipalities can be questioned.


Dr. ir. Pepijn van Houwelingen
Dr. ir. P. van Houwelingen is onderzoeker aan het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau bij de afdeling Participatie, Cultuur en Leefomgeving.
Article

De opkomstkloof tussen jongvolwassenen en ouderen in nationale verkiezingen

Een vergelijkend onderzoek

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 2013
Trefwoorden turnout, national elections, age gap, electoral competition, comparative research
Auteurs Kaat Smets
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Recent research from Canada, Great Britain, and the United States indicates that turnout in national elections is declining rapidly among young adults. As a consequence of this trend, the age gap in voter turnout between younger and older voters widens. The aim of this paper is to understand whether similar patterns are observed in other Western democracies. Based on national election studies from eight European countries, Canada, and the United States, turnout patterns of younger and older citizens are traced and compared over the past decades. In a second step, a first attempt at explaining aggregate patterns is made. More specifically, the hypothesis that young people are particularly sensitive to the level of competitiveness between political parties is assessed. In low stake elections, turnout patterns of young citizens are expected to be relatively low. Therefore, declining turnout levels among young adults could be a sign of declining levels of political competitiveness. Nonetheless, multivariate analyses show that different measures of political competitiveness neither directly affect the age gap nor the turnout levels of young voters.


Kaat Smets
Kaat Smets is momenteel als postdoctoral fellow verbonden aan het Centre for the Study of Political Change (CIRCaP) van de Universiteit van Siena, Italië. Zij houdt zich bezig met diverse onderzoeksprojecten gericht op de publieke opinie. Haar onderzoeksinteresse gaat verder uit naar politiek gedrag, politieke socialisatie, politieke communicatie en vergelijkende politicologie en kwantitatieve onderzoekmethoden.
Article

Stemrecht, stemplicht, opkomstplicht: inleiding tot het debat

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 2010
Trefwoorden compulsory voting, turnout, electoral participation, electoral systems, types of democracy
Auteurs Arend Lijphart
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Compulsory voting was abolished in the Netherlands in 1970 without a thorough debate about the likely consequences. On several occasions, I have recommended its retention in countries that have it and its introduction in countries that do not have it. Compulsory voting has a positive effect on turnout and is a guarantee for equal electoral participation by different groups in society. However, the debate is far from closed. In particular, the relationship between compulsory voting and type of democracy (majoritarian vs consensus democracy, majoritarian vs proportional electoral systems) requires further research.


Arend Lijphart
Arend Lijphart (1936) is als onderzoeksprofessor emeritus verbonden aan de Universiteit van Californië, San Diego, USA. In 1963 promoveerde hij aan Yale University. Hij is auteur van een groot aantal gezaghebbende boeken en artikelen in het bijzonder op het terrein van de vergelijkende politicologie. In 1995-1996 was hij president van de American Political Science Association. In 2001 ontving hij een eredoctoraat van de Universiteit Leiden, in 2009 van de Universiteit Gent.
Article

Opkomstplicht: stimulans of frustratie?

Een landenvergelijkende studie naar de gevolgen van opkomstplicht op politieke participatie

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 2010
Trefwoorden compulsory voting, political participation, turnout, elections
Auteurs Tom van der Meer en Jan van Deth
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Compulsory voting does not only increase voting turnout; it is also expected to have positive spill-over effects. Supposedly, citizens who are obliged to cast a vote will be more engaged in politics than citizens who are allowed to avoid politics. This article reviews the main arguments for this expectation. A rival expectation is formulated based on the idea that enforcements, duties and sanctions are likely to decrease the willingness of citizens to participate politically. A cross-national multi-level empirical test – covering turnout and political participation in twenty established democracies – shows that compulsory voting indeed increases voting turnout. Yet neither positive nor negative spill-over effects for other modes of political participation can be detected. Apparently, the consequences of compulsory voting are restricted to turnout.


Tom van der Meer
Tom van der Meer (1980) is verbonden aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam (IMES) en aan het Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau (onderzoeksgroep Participatie & Bestuur). In 2009 promoveerde hij aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen op een vergelijkend onderzoek naar de relatie tussen staat en burgers, in het bijzonder de invloed van de staat op (vormen van) burgerparticipatie. In zijn onderzoek richt hij zich onder meer op vragen rondom burgerparticipatie, civil society, (etnische diversiteit en) sociale cohesie, politiek vertrouwen en politieke voorkeuren.

Jan van Deth
Jan van Deth (1950) bekleedt de Lehrstuhl für Politische Wissenschaft und International Vergleichende Sozialforschung aan de Universiteit van Mannheim, Duitsland. Hij promoveerde in 1984 aan de Universiteit Twente op een onderzoek naar politieke waarden. Zijn onderzoek richt zich in het bijzonder op politieke cultuur, maatschappelijke ontwikkelingen alsook vergelijkende onderzoeksmethoden.
Article

Opkomstplicht in Vlaanderen: een gespreide slagorde?

Onderzoek naar de gelaagdheid van houdingen ten aanzien van de opkomstplicht

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 2010
Trefwoorden compulsory voting, Belgium, turnout, multi level context
Auteurs Dries Verlet, Ann Carton en Marc Callens
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Belgium is one of the advanced Western democracies with compulsory voting. There is continuing scholarly and societal debate on this feature of the electoral system, however, both form a normative and an empirical perspective. One argument in favor of compulsory voting is that it more or less guarantees the inclusion of all citizens of the political system, at least at election time. This paper addresses this argument in an empirical way on the basis of a 2007 survey from Flanders, by analyzing the potential drop outs at various layers of the political system and in different geographical locations in the case of the abolition of compulsory voting. It concludes that without the system of compulsory voting some particular groups of citizens will turn out in lower numbers than other groups. In the explanation of these diverging levels of turnout individual level characteristics are most important, e.g. political powerlessness, level of education, gender, age, as well as societal involvement and political preference. As a result of the abolition of compulsory voting the Flemish electorate will show itself in a differing electoral order of battle.


Dries Verlet
Dries Verlet (1977) is doctor in de politieke en sociale wetenschappen (Universiteit Gent) en sinds eind 2007 adviseur beleidsevaluatie aan de Studiedienst van de Vlaamse Regering. Daarnaast is hij ook actief als gastdocent aan de Hogeschool Gent (Departement Handelswetenschappen en Bestuurskunde). Tot 2007 was hij doctor-assistent aan de Universiteit Gent. Zijn onderzoek en onderwijs omvat de volgende onderzoeksdomeinen: beleidsevaluatie, methodologie, statistiek, politieke participatie en subjectief welzijn.

Ann Carton
Ann Carton is doctor in de sociale wetenschappen (K.U.Leuven, departement Sociologie) en is momenteel adviseur-coördinator van het Team kwaliteit statistiek, survey, toekomstverkenningen en beleidsevaluatie op de Studiedienst van de Vlaamse Regering. Ze is eveneens verantwoordelijk voor de organisatie van en kwaliteitszorg over de survey ‘Sociaal-culturele verschuivingen in Vlaanderen’ en de contactpersoon voor ISSP (International Social Survey Programme) in Vlaanderen.

Marc Callens
Marc Callens (1958) is als senior onderzoeker verbonden aan de Studiedienst van de Vlaamse Regering. Hij promoveerde aan de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven op een onderzoek naar multiniveau logistische regressie. Hij doet voornamelijk onderzoek naar toegepaste statistiek, kwaliteit van het leven, armoededynamiek en surveymethodologie.
Article

Nieuwe vragen, oude antwoorden

Het debat over de opkomstplicht in Nederland

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 2010
Trefwoorden compulsory voting, proportional representation, turnout, Dutch parliamentary debate
Auteurs Galen Irwin en Joop van Holsteyn
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Arend Lijphart has generated recent discussion on the topic of compulsory voting within political science. He also notes that there was not a broad discussion in The Netherlands concerning the repeal of compulsory voting in 1970 and asks whether there would have been more discussion if the members of Parliament had been aware of the consequences of repeal (i.e. lower turnout, class and age discrepancies in turnout). And could political scientists have warned members of parliament of these consequences? Our contribution examines the contents of the parliamentary debates over compulsory voting, in particular at the time of repeal. It concludes that the arguments in Parliament centered on the rights and duties of a citizen in the state and that there was little or no discussion of the consequences of repeal. Data were available that could have made it possible for political scientists to make fairly accurate predictions concerning the consequences of appeal. This, however, was not an element of the parliamentary debate.


Galen Irwin
Galen Irwin (1942) is emeritus hoogleraar politiek gedrag en de methodologie van politicologisch onderzoek aan het Instituut voor Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden. Hij studeerde aan de University of Kansas en Florida State University. In zijn onderzoek houdt hij zich vooral bezig met vraagstukken van politieke participatie, electoraal gedrag, opiniepeilingen en opinieonderzoek.

Joop van Holsteyn
Joop van Holsteyn (1957) is als universitair hoofddocent en bijzonder hoogleraar kiezersonderzoek verbonden aan het Instituut voor Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden. Hij doet onderzoek naar en publiceert over politieke participatie en electoraal gedrag, publieke opinie, opiniepeilingen en opinieonderzoek, extreem-rechts in Nederland en politieke cartoons.
Article

De provincieraadsverkiezingen van 8 oktober 2006

Electorale tendensen in Vlaanderen en Wallonië

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 2-3 2007
Auteurs Tony Valcke, Herwig Reynaert, Kristof Steyvers e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The 2006 provincial elections in Belgium were the first organised after the transfer of the bulk of competences on local and provincial government from the federal to the regional level. This means that the different regions have both the competence to redesign the institutional framework on provincial government and to change the electoral rules. The government has exercised its competence: some institutional and electoral rules are now different in the two regions. These elections were also the first after drastic reforms in the national political landscape (e.g., the democratic Flemish nationalist party split in different groups, nearly all the parties changed their name and different kinds of cartels and alliances between parties emerged, especially in the Flemish part of the country).
    All over the country, the Christian democrats and the extreme right parties were the winners of the elections, while the ecologists suffered from a declining trend. For the other parties, results differ according to region. In the Flemish part of the country, the socialists joined the Christian democrats as winners, where in the Walloon provinces they lost votes. The Liberals however noticed declining vote shares in the Flemish provinces, while winning in the Walloon part of the country.
    Because of the electoral design the evolution of the provincial political landscape offers an interesting electoral barometer of the upcoming federal elections. Provincial elections do not only ‘predict’ the political future of other levels however, they are path dependent in their own right as well. Historical, institutional, political and electoral forces all codetermine the actual outlook of current provincial events. The analysis for 2006 has once again confirmed this.


Tony Valcke
Assistent Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Herwig Reynaert
Docent Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Kristof Steyvers
Doctor-assistent Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Johan Ackaert
Docent Universiteit Hasselt.
Article

Op zoek naar de ‘monitorial citizen’

Een empirisch onderzoek naar de prevalentie van postmodern burgerschap in België

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 4 2006
Auteurs Yves Dejaeghere en Marc Hooghe
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Various authors have claimed that postmodern concepts of citizenship have become more important in contemporary Western societies. The new generation of citizens are said to be more critical toward the political system, less likely to participate in conventional politics, but they remain strongly interested in politics and social life (Norris, Inglehart, Dalton). Michael Schudson developed the concept of a ‘monitorial citizen’, who is interested in politics, with high levels of political efficacy and who turns to political action if needed, but does not participate in traditional political organizations. Based on the European Social Survey (2004) we investigate whether this type of citizenship actually occurs in Belgium, and found that approx. 9 per cent of all respondents can be labeled as ‘monitorial citizens’. In accordance with the theoretical expectations, most of them are young and highly-educated citizens. A multivariate analysis shows that, controlling for education, ‘monitorial citizens’ also score relatively high on political trust.


Yves Dejaeghere
Licentiaat politieke wetenschappen, Centrum voor Politicologie K.U.Leuven.

Marc Hooghe
Hoofddocent politieke wetenschappen, Centrum voor Politicologie K.U.Leuven.

    At least four criterions/methods to measure mechanical effects of electoral systems can be distinguished: measuring disproportionality, the reduction in number of parties, the party advantages and the threshold percentages. In this manuscript we focus on the thresholds. We first concentrate on a description of legal, theoretical, and empirical thresholds as measures of mechanical effects. Further, we analyse the relationship between (the natural logarithm) of district magnitude and the empirical threshold and between the empirical threshold and the effective number of parties. As starting point we take districts in Spain, Portugal and Hungary as the level of analysis. We clearly show that there is a negative causal connection between district magnitude and the threshold percentage and between threshold percentage and the number of parties.


Patrick Vander Weyden
Doctor-assistent aan de K.U.Brussel en Vice-directeur van het Instituut voor Politieke Sociologie en Methodologie (IPSoM).
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