Kavanagh, Adrian and Mills, Gerald and Sinnott, Richard
The geography of Irish voter turnout: A case study of the
2002 General Election.
Irish Geography, 37 (2).
'Turnout' is a key measure of participation in the democratic process.
Specifically, it measures the proportion of eligible voters that turns out to vote on
election day. Low (or declining) turnout rates are a cause of concern and are
often taken as a measure of disaffection with the political decision-making
process. In Ireland, turnout in the 2002 general election confirmed a downward
trend in voter participation and represented the lowest turnout since the foundation
of the State. However, turnout rates vary markedly across the State. Until
recently, it was not possible to examine turnout at a sufficiently detailed geographical
scale to allow systematic analysis of the potential causes of such variations.
This paper reports on a joint project, involving the Geary Institute, UCD
and the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), NUI
Maynooth, that is undertaking a comprehensive analysis of turnout in the 2002
general election at the lowest possible level of aggregation. Here, a cartographic
description and introductory analysis is presented that includes the first ever
electoral-district-level map of turnout. The resulting geographical patterns are
generally coherent and explicable and provide important pointers for future
research. In an unanticipated finding, this map shows that the phenomenon of
low turnout in urban areas occurs beyond the main cities and their suburbanised
hinterlands and shows up as a characteristic of most provincial towns.
||turnout, electoral-district map, patterns.
||Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
||14 Jul 2006
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||Geographical Society of Ireland
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