Puzzling Patterns in Election Participation
Last Saturday, Afghanistan held its first presidential election since 2009. A surprisingly large number of Afghan citizens turned out to vote despite the fact that their safety could not be guaranteed, and despite the fact that fraud was likely. This stands in contrast to elections that have been held since November in Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand, where large numbers of citizens have boycotted the polls specifically because the results were likely to be rigged.
Today’s puzzler is this: In a world where elections in developing democracies are rarely entirely “free and fair” why do some citizens choose to participate in fraudulent elections, while others refuse?