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Sociodynamics
Reference:

Turnout distribution: anomalies and the norm.

Shalaev Nikita

Post-graduate student, the department of Political Institutions and Applied Political Research, St. Petersburg State University

191124, Russia, St. Petersburg, Smolnogo Street 1-3

nikita.e.shalaev@gmail.com

DOI:

10.7256/2409-7144.2016.7.19136

Review date:

12-05-2016


Publish date:

17-07-2016


Abstract: Turnout has been widely used to operationalize a large number of variables, from the level of support for political institutes to the degree of electorate consolidation. In recent years, yet another application emerged: statistical distribution of turnout as an indicator of electoral fraud. This application, however, rests on a weakly substantiated assumption that in absence of electoral fraud the turnout distribution should be Gaussian (normal). The goal of this paper is to find out whether there is a certain distribution that describes most cases of elections, and whether deviations from normality are indeed anomalous. Eastern Europe appears to be a promising testing ground for these assumptions, providing an array of countries which started developing electoral democracy at almost the same time, after decades of sharing similar political regimes; the properties of electoral competition are similar as well. This study corroborates the hypothesis that elections are usually exhibiting the same turnout patterns, but shows that the most regularly found distribution isn't normal: the values of skewness and kurtosis do not match those expected of a Gaussian distribution. Finally, it reveals that the deviations from said distribution are indeed exceptions from the general rule, and are accompanied by unusually frequent and/or rapid changes in turnout shape between the elections.


Keywords: comparative political science, electoral anomalies, presidential elections, parliamentary elections, electoral forensics, statistical analysis, Eastern Europe, turnout distribution, turnout, democratization
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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