Brief Project Description:
The literature highlights the voter registration process as one of the parameters that can influence voter turnout.1 Such a parameter is useful in explaining why most countries in the West have adopted automatic registration in the electoral lists.
Cyprus, along with Ireland, are the only countries currently in the EU where automatic registration in the electoral lists is not applied, despite the fact that in recent years the abstention from the KD electoral contests has been constantly increasing. This trend, if it remains unchanged, will constitute a major challenge and deficit to the democratic legitimacy of the political system itself, as unregistered voters will cumulatively become a very significant percentage of what is considered as "potential" electorate - that being the people who could potentially sign up to vote but have not yet. To put it very simply, if of the eligible young voters, a significant percentage (say a third) do not apply for registration in the electoral lists, this means that over time, a third of the electorate will be off the electoral lists.
It is understood, therefore, that the real abstention from the electoral procedures cannot be measured objectively only as a percentage of those registered in the lists. Those who had the right to register but did not should also be added to the lists. Only in this way may one understand the magnitude of the real problem of alienation and discrediting of the political system, as well as how this problem can be magnified even more if this trend is not immediately reversed. The first and immediate step should be the establishment of automatic registration in the electoral lists.
As such, the project has three major goals:
- To gather and present the true size of unregistered voters in Cyprus and make estimates as to how the current trend may further develop if the situation persists and remains unchanged.
- To investigate whether the political beliefs of those who do not register on the electoral lists are different from those who do register but abstain. At the same time, the project seeks to discover to what extent the non-registration of someone new in the electoral lists, during the time period in which they acquire the right to vote, acts as a deterrent to registration at a later stage.
- To investigate the cases of other states that have adopted automatic registration in the electoral lists and to carry out a comparative analysis of the results from the implementation phase of this measure.