Hawaii's Vanishing Voter: Lessons From Abroad

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Editor's Note: This is the last in a series of stories examining Hawaii's low voter participation rates. Read previous stories in the series as well as other initiatives Civil Beat is undertaking to understand why people don't vote.

If Americans paid more attention to elections in other democratic countries, they would likely come away with an unsettling realization: Just as voter turnout in Hawaii lags behind that in other states, turnout across the U.S. lags behind that recorded in most of the world’s countries.

The data is disheartening, and tends to undermine America’s self-image as a leader among democratic nations.

“Voter turnout in the U.S. is lower than all other industrialized nations and most other democracies,” said Todd Belt, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

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