Appendix G – Countries with compulsory voting

Appendix G – Countries with compulsory voting



Population *

Constitutional or legal authority/comments/penalty



36 900 000

Constitution. Article 37. Introduced 1912 by ‘Saénz Peña Law’. Enshrined in Constitution in 1994. Some exceptions – health, distance. Various penalties: Fine. Not entitled to hold public office for 3 years.



19 900 000

Introduced 1924. Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, section 245. Fine of $20.



8 200 000

Compulsory in 2 provinces, Tyrol and Vorarlberg, for provincial and presidential elections. Fine 1000 schillings for failure to vote without valid reason.



10 400 000

Constitution. Article 48. Adopted 1831. Revised 1920. Persons unable to vote personally may give power of attorney to family member. Penalties are official reprimands or fines.


Partly free

8 600 000

Constitution. Title 9. Electoral regime, Chapter 1. Suffrage. Article 219. ‘Suffrage constitutes the foundation of the representative democratic regime and it is based on the universal, direct and equal, individual and secret, free and obligatory vote; on a public counting of votes, and on a system of proportional representation.’

Electoral Code. Chapter 2. Suffrage. Article 6. ‘obligatory, because it constitutes a responsibility which cannot be renounced.’



176 500 000

Constitution. Article 14. Compulsory for citizens 18 years and over. Optional for illiterates and those over 70, and for those between 16 and 18 years. Fine



15 800 000

Constitution. Article 15. ‘in popular voting, vote shall be personal, egalitarian and secret. In addition, for citizens it shall be compulsory.’





900 000

Electoral Bill. Voting is compulsory and failure to vote constitutes a criminal offence. Fine of up to CY 200. Chapter 8, article 6 of Bill for the Registration of Electors and the Registrar of Electors makes registration compulsory. Failure to register: imprisonment of up to one month or fine of up to CY75 or both. Provisions applicable for unjustifiable failure to vote or register.


Partly free

12 600 000

Introduced in 1905. Constitution and National Law of Elections. Optional for illiterates or for over 65. Penalty: deprivation of civil rights


Not free

72 100 000

Constitution. Article 62. ‘ Participation in public life is a national duty.’

Fiji Islands

Partly free

900 000

1998 Constitution. (Suspended 2000). Chapter 6, part 2, sections 54-57. $20 fine for failure to vote, $50 for failure to register



11 000 000

Constitution of the Hellenic Republic, 1975, revised 1986. Article 51, Paragraph 3.

‘The members of Parliament shall be elected through direct, universal and secret ballot by citizens who have the right to vote, as specified by law. The law cannot abridge the right to vote except in cases where minimum voting age has not been attained or in cases of illegal incapacity or as a result of irrevocable criminal conviction for certain felonies.

Paragraph 5. ‘Exercise of the right to vote shall be compulsory. Exceptions and penalties shall be specified each time by law.’

Presidential Act No 92/9-5-94. Article 6. Paragraph 2. ‘exercise of the right to vote is compulsory.’

Law No 2623/25.6.98 provides voting is not compulsory for citizens over 70, or for electors overseas on national or European election days.



57 200 000

Constitution. Article 48.2 ’the vote is personal and equal, free and confidential. Voting is a civic duty’. Failure to vote may be noted on official papers.



40 000

Voting is compulsory, but no penalty applies for failure to vote.



500 000

CIA Factbook: Parline. Fine



10 000

Compulsory for Nauruans aged over 20.


Partly free

6 200 000

Constitution. Article 118. Suffrage is a right, a duty, and a public function of a voter. It is the basis of a representative democracy. It is based on universal, free, direct, equal and secret voting, as well as on a publicly supervised vote count and a proportional representation system.




27 100 000

Constitution. Article 31. ‘Voting is individual, equal, free, secret and obligatory up to the age of 70. It is optional after that age.’


Partly free

4 200 000

Parliamentary Elections Act 1959. $5.00 penalty.



7 300 000

The small canton of Schaffhausen has compulsory voting on all cantonal matters and in referenda.





63 100 000

Constitution 1997. Chapter IV, Section 68. ‘Every person shall have a duty to exercise his or her right to vote at an election’

The person who fails to vote without notifying the appropriate cause of the inability to attend the election shall lose his or her right to vote as provided by law.

The notification of the inability to attend the election and the provision of facilities for the attendance thereat shall be in accordance with the provisions of law.’


Partly free

71 200 000

AEC. See also ‘Elections Round Up: Turkey’ in Representation, Vol. 36, No. 2, Summer 1999, p.188.



3 400 000

Constitution. Article 77. ‘Suffrage shall be exercised in the manner determined by law, but on the following bases:

Compulsory inscription in the Civil Register.

Secret and compulsory vote. The law, by an absolute majority of the full membership of each chamber, shall regulate the fulfilment of this obligation.’




606 750 000


Source Freedom status and population statistics taken from Freedom in the World 2004: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties, 2004. List of countries with compulsory voting taken from the IDEA Voter Turnout,

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